"An American Success Story shows Astronaut John Young in April of 1972 as he stood proudly on the moon," says artist Alan Bean,"but for a while, it didnít look like he and Charlie Duke would even land." Orbiting the moon in their lunar module preparing for descent, a call came reporting an oscillation in the backup steering system. They knew that this might force them to return to earth as soon as possible. If the systems failed, the Apollo 16 and her crew would orbit the moon forever.
Immediately, mission control was alerted. Could they determine if oscillations would prevent the backup steering system from doing its job? Records were searched and tests conducted, in less than six hours the results were in: the mission could continue. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief. John Young would say later, "It was a cliff-hanger, but the ground crew really came through, putting us right back in the ball game."
Capt. Alan BEAN, USN (Ret.) - Apollo astronaut and 4th human to walk on the moon.