Coverage of the Bucks’ run in the NBA Playoffs 🏀

Edgar Mitchell, last surviving astronaut of Apollo 14, has died

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK — Edgar Mitchell, one of just 12 human beings who walked on the moon, has died, according to his ex-wife, Anita Mitchell. Mitchell was 85.

Mitchell, Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa were the crew of Apollo 14, which launched on January 31, 1971. Mitchell became the sixth man to walk on the lunar surface.

Edgar Mitchell, one of just 12 human beings who walked on the moon, has died, according to his ex-wife, Anita Mitchell. Mitchell was 85.

Edgar Mitchell, one of just 12 human beings who walked on the moon, has died, according to his ex-wife, Anita Mitchell. Mitchell was 85.

He and Shepard set foot on the moon two separate times during their mission, spending more than nine hours collecting rocks, taking measurements and (in Shepard’s case) hitting a pair of golf balls. Mitchell also took a famous photograph of Shepard standing next to an American flag. All told, the two spent 33 hours on the moon.

 

Edgar Mitchell, one of just 12 human beings who walked on the moon, has died, according to his ex-wife, Anita Mitchell.

Mitchell was 85.

Mitchell, Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa were the crew of Apollo 14, which launched on January 31, 1971. Mitchell became the sixth man to walk on the lunar surface.

He and Shepard set foot on the moon two separate times during their mission, spending more than nine hours collecting rocks, taking measurements and (in Shepard’s case) hitting a pair of golf balls. Mitchell also took a famous photograph of Shepard standing next to an American flag. All told, the two spent 33 hours on the moon.

Mitchell, who was the lunar module pilot, found the trip to be a profound experience.

Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface during the early moments of the mission's first spacewalk. He was photographed by astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., mission commander. While astronauts Shepard and Mitchell descended in the Lunar Module "Antares" to explore the Fra Mauro region of the moon, astronaut Stuart A. Roosa, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Module "Kitty Hawk" in lunar orbit.

Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot stands by the deployed U.S. flag on the lunar surface during the early moments of the mission’s first spacewalk. He was photographed by astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., mission commander. While astronauts Shepard and Mitchell descended in the Lunar Module “Antares” to explore the Fra Mauro region of the moon, astronaut Stuart A. Roosa, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Module “Kitty Hawk” in lunar orbit.

“Looking at Earth from space and seeing it was a planet in isolation … that was an experience of ecstasy, realizing that every molecule in our bodies is a system of matter created from a star hanging in space,” Mitchell told the UK Telegraph in 2014. “The experience I had was called Samadhi in the ancient Sanskrit, a feeling of overwhelming joy at seeing the Earth from that perspective.”

Fascinated and frustrated by the relationship between religion and science, he was very public about seeking links between the known and unknown.

He said he had conducted ESP experiments on the mission. He was also a believer in extraterrestrial activity, and was convinced UFOs had visited Earth.

In one interview, he told Bloomberg Business that the 1947 Roswell incident, which to some people is evidence of an extraterrestrial crash landing, was covered up. (The U.S. government has said the incident involved the crash of a high-altitude balloon.)

“It’s not just military. It’s a cabal of organizations primarily for a profit motive,” he told the publication.

However, he drew the line when it came to an interview with the UK Mirror. The newspaper claimed Mitchell said UFOs had helped prevent nuclear war.

“None of those statements were originated by me,” he told the Huffington Post. (The Mirror stood by its story.)

Mitchell also created the Institute of Noetic Sciences to research paranormal phenomena and consciousness. In addition, he was co-founder of the Association of Space Explorers, an organization for space travelers.

The astronaut was born in Hereford, Texas, in 1930. A Navy pilot, he joined NASA in 1966 as part of the agency’s astronaut corps. He was well-qualified: besides having served as a test pilot and college instructor, he earned a doctorate from MIT in aeronautics and astronautics.

Mitchell was part of the support crew for the Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 missions. A year after Apollo 14, in 1972, he left NASA to embark on his other activities.

He was in the news in 2011 when, threatened with a lawsuit from the U.S. government, he returned a camera he’d kept as a memento of the mission. NASA agreed to display the camera at the National Air and Space Museum.

With Mitchell’s death, of the 12 men who have walked on the moon, seven survive: Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, David Scott, John W. Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt.

Many have talked of their missions with joy and wonder. Mitchell went beyond, however: he believed we were all connected — to everything.

“We are not alone in the universe,” he told the Utica Phoenix. “We are just one grain of sand on a huge beach.”

1 Comment

  • MAYHEM LIKE ME

    I was on a flight once from Milwaukee to Kansas City. The Captain came on the intercom and said, “We have another captain on board today. Captain Eugene Cernan of the Apollo missions.” Everyone clapped and I looked at the old guy across the aisle from me with people shaking his hand. He just gave off this vibe that was ridiculous. Like hes not one to be messed with. Hes seen some stuff in his time. After we got off the flight I saw he was one of the last people to walk on the moon. It was so weird seeing him in person just a few feet from me and thinking he was on the moon once.

    Anyway, my application for the astronaut program is in. Now its a waiting game.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.