Apollo 14: The mission that saved the US Moon program

Fifty years ago today, on January 31, 1971, at 4:03 pm EST, a Saturn V rocket lifted off from Pad A of Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center carrying Apollo 14 – the Moon mission that would make or break the US space program.
If Apollo 14 is remembered at all by most people, it’s mainly as the answer to trivia questions like, who was the oldest man to walk on the Moon, or what is the longest lunar golf drive? But it was far more than that. Arguably, it was one of the most important of all the Apollo lunar landing missions, with the possible exception of Apollo 11.
This is because