Corrected entry: When he finds out he is being bumped to the Apollo 13 crew, Lovell is giving a tour at the vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the next scene, he runs into his house, which seems to be in Houston - over 1000 miles away - to announce that he's going to the Moon in April, then races off to get back to training. It seems like an awfully long commute.
New this month Correction: When he gets home Lovell is wearing a NASA flight suit. It was very common for the astronauts (who were mostly military pilots) to fly between Houston, where they lived, and Kennedy Space Center. They would typically fly T-38 trainer jets, which was the first supersonic trainer in the US military. So it is quite feasible that he immediately flew home to give his family the good news in person.
Corrected entry: In the scenes where all three astronauts are wearing their space suits, they all have a red collar on the helmet and red markings on suits. The LEM pilot (in this case Fred Haise) would have blue markings and a blue collar so that Houston (and others) could distinguish between the Commander and the LEM pilot when they were on the moon.
Correction: The colours of the suit collars are in fact, correct. The difference in colour on previous flights was not to tell them apart from Houston (impossible with the black and white camera on Apollo 11). It was so the ground crew could tell the difference between an A7L (original / blue colour) and an A7Lb (upgraded / red colour) suit. The vent ports in the helmet wouldn't line up if the two styles of suits were mixed, so they changed the colour of the components to avoid that problem. By Apollo 13 astronauts only used A7Lb suits with red collars.
Corrected entry: When Deke tells Lovell that Mattingly will have to be removed from the flight, he says that if Lovell is unwilling to go with Swigert, the entire crew will be bumped to a later mission. Even if this really had been Lovell's decision to make (which it almost certainly wasn't in real life), there is no way that all three astronauts could have been bumped to a later mission. Even if the entire backup crew could have been brought up to speed in a week, they could not have flown Apollo 13, given that Charlie Duke (Fred Haise's backup as LEM pilot) had the measles.
Correction: The CMP for Apollo 14 (Stu Roosa), could have taken the flight in place of Duke as he had been training for 13 before Mattingly even got assigned to it, and was currently training for 14. Couple that with the fact that a CMP would really have the same job on the two flights, unlike the LMP which would have trained for entirely different surface activities from a different mission.
Corrected entry: When the astronauts and their families gather around the television to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing, Neil Armstrong is shown on the TV set coming down the ladder normally, top to bottom of the screen. In the actual historical event, the network's TV feed was upside down, with Armstrong appearing to ascend from bottom to top. The surface of the moon appeared at the top of the screen. Moments later, the network corrected the feed.
Correction: When we first see the TV showing the picture from the moon, it is upside-down as expected. In other words, the movie shows exactly what you think should have happened - an upside-down image at first, subsequently right-side-up. The timing may be out; I don't know when it was flipped.
Corrected entry: In the television interview, when the expert is describing the tolerance requirements for re-entry angle, he asks the reader to imagine that the earth is a basketball and the moon is a softball, and that the two balls are 14 feet apart, which is about 16.8 times the diameter of a basketball. The distance from the earth to the moon is about 30.14 times the diameter of the earth. This means that the 14 feet should really have been about 25 feet. Finally, the expert says that the re-entry angle has to be accurate to within 2.5 degrees, which he says is like aiming for a target the thickness of a sheet of paper. 2.5 degrees at 30 feet is actually about 13.14 inches thick (even at 14 feet, 2.5 degrees is about 7.34 inches).
Correction: Re-entry angle refers to the angle at which the spacecraft will re-enter the atmosphere, presumably with respect to the earth's surface. That angle would have to be correct within 2.5°. This post seems to refer to an angle of trajectory between the moon and earth, which would not have been the concern in preparing for re-entry.
Corrected entry: When Ken Mattingly is watching the launch from a field, he is seen next to a gold and black corvette. The gold and black corvette was a paint scheme chosen for the astrovette which was leased to the Apollo 12 mission crew for a dollar for a year. There were three of these cars, leased to astronauts Pete Conrad, Richard F. Gordon, Jr., and Alan Bean, not Ken Mattingly.
Correction: He could have borrowed it from any of those men.
Corrected entry: When Jim comes home to inform his family that he is going to the moon, his teenage daughter comes out of her room to ask is she can wear her particular Halloween costume. Jim eventually says no, and she retreats into her room and the door slams shut. Jim walks to the door and the camera angle changes and you can see that the door is still open.
Correction: She closes the door, then you can see it re-open almost immediately as she shoos her brother out, and then closes it again.
Corrected entry: When Ken Mattingly is drinking from beverage cans, the cans are of a "necked" design (where the diameter of the top is less than that of the main body of the can). Necked cans were not actually produced until the 1990's.
Correction: Necked cans were on a number of beverages even in the 40s on up to the late 60s just ask any beer can collector! Perhaps even earlier too.
Corrected entry: Near the end, from one window of the spacecraft you can see a full moon. From the other window, there is a "full Earth." If you're between the moon and the Earth, one or the other would not be full. The sun does not go between the moon and the Earth. (If it did, we would not exist.).
Correction: Exactly why they weren't between the Earth and the moon. An Apollo trajectory had to take into account the idea that the moon moves and orbital mechanics dictates the astronauts would swing far away from the moon and to the side (past its eastern edge) before entering the Earth's sphere of influence. If the sun was directly behind them, the earth and moon would have appeared full from Aquarius at this point in the journey.
Corrected entry: After Jack Lousma's recommendation to stir the oxygen tanks, Swigert is seen flipping two switches to start the stir that causes the "problem". However, there is a mistake here. Anyone who is familiar with the Command Module Cockpit and Instrument Panel knows that you stir the O2 tanks by flipping the "O2 FANS" to the on position, while Swigert is seen flipping them off. What he has done is disengaged the cryo stir fans, not started them.
Correction: Actually the switches were in the center "OFF" position and he flipped them down to "ON." The O2 FANS switches were 3 way with top being "AUTO" middle being "OFF" and bottom being "ON." So what the movie showed Jack doing was correct.
Corrected entry: Right before the ship loses radio contact and goes behind the moon, a wide shot shows the ship heading behind the moon. In this shot, the ship casts a shadow into space which can be seen just above the ship. There is nothing nearby onto which a shadow could be cast, any debris from the explosion would be travelling off into space at high velocity in all directions.
Correction: Gas and debris did follow the ship for quite some time after the explosion. In an explosion, much fine debris is always created, even dust. Lovell's book even states the astronauts couldn't even detect the stars from the debris until they were possibly behind the moon in its shadow, blocking the light from the sun and eliminating reflected light from the debris that was following them.
Corrected entry: The consoles used in the movie were the actual consoles that were in the second and third floor MOCR (Mission Operations Control Room). The goose neck reading lamps did not exist, however. The shots of the hallways outside the MOCR in Building 30 were not authentic. Also, during the first two days of the disaster, the hallways on the second floor were lined with student chairs where programmers were working on the various scenarios for return and reentry. Ron Howard's dedication to accuracy is amazing because the information on the displays in Mission Control was authentic in format, the switch legends on the consoles were labels as they would have been and even the lights on the Keysets (the communication consoles with the telephone dial) were accurate in their color coding and in the flashing light indicating that a "talk loop" was active (monitor-only circuits were illuminated but not flashing).
Correction: His attention to detail is admirable, but at the end of the day this film is a drama, not a historical documentary. This entry is not referring to factually impossible things, merely factually inaccurate things (with the exception of the goose-necked reading lamps). Many, many things happened differently in the film compared to what happened in real life. None of those things constitute a movie mistake.
Corrected entry: During Lovell's moon walking sequence, his helmet shows a large blue and white Navy anchor. NASA EVA helmets were white with no insignia.
Correction: The helmet shown in the film matches Jim Lovell's real life helmet, he got permission from NASA to have the Anchor on his helmet since he was a Navy Aviator. The real helmet is on display at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, IL.
Corrected entry: During Jim Lovell's daydream of being on the moon, when Jim steps onto the Lunar Module landing pad, it wobbles quite freely. This shouldn't move as the Lunar Module would be solidly on the Moon's surface and the weight from the rest of the module would be pushing it into the surface.
Correction: As you said, it was a daydream. It was how he imagined it.
Corrected entry: At the bottom, right hand corner of the screen there is an opening on the set, where one of the crew members can be seen and it is cold, as you can also see his breath.
Correction: Where? When? This is far too vague - at least specify a scene so this posting can be verified.
Corrected entry: When Jim's wife has a nightmare about the mission going horribly wrong, she wakes up suddenly and there is a closeup of a brown eye looking around frantically. The actress has blue eyes in the rest of the film.
Correction: Watching the scene closely I paused the movie when her eye looks to the right of the screen if you pause it there you will see that her eye is blue. The reason it looks brown is because of the light from the window reflecting in her eye.
Corrected entry: When Swigert is being brought up to speed in the simulator (the re-entry simulation with the false indicator light), the Capcom announces loss of signal, but a few seconds later (right after the corridor light), the astronauts are talking to Houston again. (Note: this is far too soon for them to have come out of the blackout, since, according to the end of the movie, the blackout usually lasts around three minutes.)
Correction: Time compression. We could have watched them simulate the entire three minutes of blackout, but it wouldn't be particularly interesting and the film has better uses for those minutes at other points in the film. So they jump time a bit to keep the flow of the film. Absolutely standard practice.
Corrected entry: When Marilyn has the nightmare about Jim's mission meeting disaster, the Capcom says, "We show S4B shutdown," and then a few seconds later says, "when you get in the LEM." This makes no sense, because S4B (Saturn 4B Booster) shutdown happens before the LEM is even docked (and days before anybody would actually get in the LEM). Granted, it's a dream, but Marilyn Lovell was actually fairly knowledgeable about the way lunar missions worked, and you'd think that if she could dream everything else correctly (the layout of the capsule, for instance), she (or the filmmakers) would get that detail correct.
Correction: It's a dream. These are not required to make factual sense, even if the dreamer in question is well acquainted with the subject matter. I'm pretty knowledgeable about cats, and am therefore reasonably sure that they can't fly, yet have, on occasion, had a dream that involved cats doing precisely that. Factually incorrect, but that's dreams for you.
Corrected entry: When Jim Lovell is talking to his son about landing on the moon, he says his moon landing will be "Better than Neil Armstrong; way better than Pete Conrad." In fact, while Armstrong did make a less-than-stellar landing (hampered by low fuel and a problem with his targeting computer), Pete Conrad's Apollo 12 landing was nearly perfect.
Correction: So what? There's always a healthy level of rivalry among such people. If Lovell reckons that he can land better than his predecessors did, then it's not a mistake to say so; people are entitled to have opinions. Bear in mind that Lovell would consider Armstrong's landing, hampered by fuel and computer problems, to be a more impressive feat than Conrad's relatively mundane experience, so it's quite reasonable that he would rank them in that order.