An interesting thread appeared on Reddit recently where a 97 year old ex-deputy chief of media relations during the time of the Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 dropped a real bombshell claiming that an unknown MIT student came up with the idea to slingshot Apollo 13 around the moon and save the mission.
“All the engineers and everybody else at NASA in Houston were working hard at recovering the moonshot, and they were in real trouble, weren’t sure they could get it back. They got a phone call from a grad student at MIT who said he knew how to get them back. They put engineers on it, tested it out, by God it worked. Slingshotting them around the moon. They successfully did. They wanted to present the grad student to the President and the public, but they found him and he was a real hippy type — long hair and facial hair. NASA was straight-laced, and this was different than they expected, so they withdrew the invitation to the student. I think that is a disgrace.”
The source says he has kept this secret for over 40 years. Redditors tried to out the name of the student but have not gotten a response. Hopefully the validity of the story will be evaluated and confirmed or denied in time.