Mitchell died in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday, on the eve of the 45th anniversary of the lunar landing, Nasa said. The Palm Beach Post reported that he died at a hospice centre after a brief illness.
Their mission was to deploy scientific instruments and perform a communications test, as well as photograph the lunar surface and any deep-space phenomena, Nasa said.
Mitchell and Shephard set mission records for time of the longest distance traversed on the lunar surface, the largest payload returned from the moon, and the longest lunar stay time, at 33 hours. They were also the first to transmit colour TV from the moon.
Mitchell helped collect 42.6kg (94lbs) of lunar rock and soil samples. He was the sixth of 12 men to walk on the Moon.
In his book The Way of the Explorer, Mitchell wrote: “There was a sense that our presence as space travellers, and the existence of the universe itself, was not accidental but that there was an intelligent process at work.”
Mitchell retired from Nasa and the US Navy and founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973, organised to sponsor research in the nature of consciousness.
In 1984, he co-founded the Association of Space Explorers, an international organisation devoted to providing an understanding of the human condition resulting from space exploration.
In a 1997 interview for the agency’s oral history project, Mitchell said he was drawn to space flight by President Kennedy’s call to send astronauts to the moon.
“I’ve been devoted to that, to exploration, education, and discovery since my earliest years, and that’s what kept me going,” he said.
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