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Students of space history will remember that Apollo 12’s most memorable claim to fame was being struck by lightning during the launch phase. Yet the mission carried on was considered a success. Less successful was NASA’s trajectory of the S-IVB third stage. It was supposed to be sent into a distant solar orbit but because of an instrument error, it spun off on a 40-year odyssey that continues yet today. For a time, it was a mystery object that astronomers couldn’t identity until some strategic spectroscopy returned spectra for white titanium paint. Primal Space’s video explains the details.

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