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Adventures in terra incognito

What to do when you're lost in space.
RELATED TOPICS: SPACE EXPLORATION
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Ever been lost? Camped out and couldn’t remember which trail you’d taken? Driven around at night in some bad neighborhood trying to figure out how to get back on the highway? It’s worse if you’re piloting a plane and have no clue where you are. I’ve done it all. Only slightly less perilous is to be lost in space.

No human has yet gone astray between worlds. But Buzz Aldrin came close during the final Gemini mission, when the navigation computer went on the fritz. Figuring out how to manually get all the way to the invisible, high-orbit target Agena rocket through calculations alone solidified his “Dr. Rendezvous” nickname and may have earned him that coveted spot on Apollo 11.

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