1.I'd first have to say that the head of mission control on the ground was definitely important in the salvaging of Apollo 13. He was faced with problem after problem yet he kept a somewhat level head through all of it and managed the engineers and other people involved back at Houston very well. Jim Lovell's piloting skills played a roll in the crew's survival as well. When he had to set the ship's course for Earth manually it took a great deal of skill and patience and he deserves credit for that. Ken Mattingly might not have made it to space, but his extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of the spacecraft saved the lives of his friends when they had a power crisis.
2. One particular problem during the Apollo 13 mission was a build up of carbon dioxide in the spacecraft. The CO2 scrubbers designed to filter out the gas weren't working properly and as time progressed and the astronauts breathed more the situation worsened. To solve this problem NASA pooled together some engineers to come up with a design for a makeshift filter using common items onboard the space craft and an existing filter from another section of the spacecraft.
3. The general public and the press seemed disinterested with the Apollo 13 mission. Since we'd already beaten the Russians to the moon, no one in the general public put much interest into NASA anymore. The space race was decided and the public lost interest in NASA With no audience for the story, the press began putting less attention to the later Apollo missions. In the film a broadcast from the astronauts aboard Apollo 13 was canceled due to a lack of interest. As for the astronauts, I think their attitude towards the space program was positive. They obviously were enthused about their mission to the moon, but I think they were beginning to believe these missions were becoming routine as well. I gathered this from their horseplay and wisecracks in space prior to the accident.
4. Apollo 13 wasn't...