This might just be the silliest communication ever made from space
Has it ever happened to you that you suddenly remembered that you forgot to file your tax returns? Well, it happened to John Swigert at a very inopportune time!
He was the Command Module Pilot aboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft, and was quite a distance away from Earth when it dawned on him.
The difficulties experienced by the Apollo 13 mission were watched by the entire world, and everybody was holding their breath and praying for the safe return of the astronauts after a drop in power in one of the module’s two main electrical circuits.
Swigert uttered the words that were repeated by his captain Jim Lovell in communication to Houston, “Houston, we've had a problem…” signaled the biggest emergency in the history of space exploration at that time.
But it's less known that the first ‘emergency’ Swigert informed Houston of was that he forgot to file his tax returns! The usually calm astronaut was in a mild panic.
“How do I apply for an extension?” he asked seriously. Mission control erupted in laughter. “Things kinda happened real fast down there and I need an extension. I’m really serious!” he insisted, “Would you turn it in?”
Flight Director Glynn Lunney put his mind at ease by explaining that American citizens out of the country get a 60-day extension on filing. “I assume this applies,” he added dryly.
Thankfully, after a very tumultuous journey, all three astronauts returned safely to earth and Swigert had the opportunity to file his tax returns – although I believe it was very far from his mind by the time he splashed down in the Pacific Ocean!