This programmer saved the Apollo 14 mission with a few dozen keystrokes

In the early hours of 5 February 1971, Don Eyles had a big problem: Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were orbiting the moon, preparing to land, but it looked like they were going to have to come home without putting so much as a single footprint on the surface.

The only way to save the mission was for Eyles to hack his own software.

Shepard and Mitchell were onboard their lunar module, the Antares.

The Antares flight computer was registering occasional presses of an Abort button in the cabin, even though the astronauts hadn’t touched it.

A loose ball of solder was floating around in zero gravity inside the switch and shorting it out.

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