During Apollo missions, carbon dioxide expelled by the astronauts' breath was removed by lithium hydroxide cartridges in command module and lunar module. Apollo 13 infamously had a problem with adapting the CM cartridges for the LM, and engineers back in Houston improvised an adapter from materials available on the spacecraft:

  • command module LiOH canisters
  • lunar module suit hoses
  • liquid cooling garment bag
  • flight procedure cover
  • adhesive tape

Did either the adapter -- or parts of it -- return back to Earth? If so, are they on display somewhere? Leftover pieces of the above items which were not used for the actual adapter don't count.

This is the last day of a series honoring the 50th anniversary of Apollo 13, "NASA's finest hour". The mission splashed down safely on April 17, 1970.

Apollo 13 astronauts safely home

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    $\begingroup$ A special chatroom has been created for any comments or questions you may have about the series. Please use the comments below only for issues directly related to this question. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Apr 17, 2020 at 16:52

2 Answers 2


Probably not, I think.

From the Apollo 13 Flight Journal (day 6):

121:57:59 Brand: Okay, and finally, four LiOH cans, the ones used in the LM, and those can go in the jettison bag in the LM. Okay, a couple of notes. After loading the ISA, recommend secure it to the right hand restraint system. [Long pause.]

121:58:40 Brand: And secure the jettison bag to the PLSS on the floor. And that's all. [Long pause.]

121:59:07 Lovell: Okay, Vance. This is Command Module to LM: cabin fan filter and bag in the ISA; decontamination bags, except for the ones we use for the TV camera, in the ISA; two LCGs in the ISA; four LiOH cans in the Jett bag; and we'll secure the ISA on the right-hand side ... on the right-hand restraint system, and we'll secure the Jett bags to the PLSS on the floor.

I believe the "four LiOH cans, the ones used in the LM" are the hardware from the scrubbers; each incorporated a single CM LiOH canister, and then a second one was taped onto it later in the flight. It can't refer to the original LM LiOH canisters, as there were only two of those.

It doesn't say specifically what happened to the rest of the hardware, but given they were taped together into a single unit, it would make sense that the whole thing was left in the LM. There is a mention of various bits and pieces stowed in the CM for balance purposes, but none of it sounds like the adapter.


According to this NASA page a replica was build in 2012.

enter image description here enter image description here

In 2012, Journal Contributor Hermann Dür decided to make a replica of the adapter built by the Apollo 13 crew, using a Command Module Lithium Canister he has in his personal collection, together with other suitable materials. He used the images above for guidance, but primarily followed the instruction given to the crew by CapCom Joe Kerwin. Before we present the relevant air-to-ground, the two following images show the replica viewed from all sides.

A return to Earth of the original adapters is not mentioned there. Two of them were built and they stacked two cartridges to use four cartridges altogether. If an adapter did return within the CM, it would have been noted on this page.

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    $\begingroup$ The original prototype adapter built on the ground during the mission so that the instructions could be uplinked to the crew is in the museum at Space Center Houston. spacecenter.org/exhibits-and-experiences/starship-gallery $\endgroup$ Apr 18, 2020 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble So we got the prototype and the replica adapter but no words about the fate of the Apollo 13 adapters. Two of them were built and they stacked two cartridges to use four cartridges altogether. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Apr 18, 2020 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ There seems to be a particular museum that gets the "best copy" of NASA artifacts. I would check their collections to see what they have. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Apr 18, 2020 at 16:37

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