Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, sixth man to walk on moon, dies aged 852 min read

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 85.

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.

On his only space flight, Mitchell joined Apollo 14 commander Alan Shephard Jr, the first American in space, in the lunar module Antares when it landed on 5 Feb 5 1971.

Edgar Mitchell standing by the US flag on the Moon’sm surface during the early moments of Apollo 14’s first spacewalk. Photograph: AFP/Getty

Edgar Mitchell standing by the US flag on the Moon’sm surface during the early moments of Apollo 14’s first spacewalk. Photograph: AFP/Getty

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.

Mitchell was born in Hereford, Texas, and held a doctorate in aeronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was selected as an astronaut in 1966.

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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Sebastien Clarke

Astronaut is dedicated to bringing you the latest news, reviews and information from the world of space, entertainment, sci-fi and technology. With videos, images, forums, blogs and more, get involved today & join our community!
Sebastien Clarke
Sebastien Clarke

Astronaut is dedicated to bringing you the latest news, reviews and information from the world of space, entertainment, sci-fi and technology. With videos, images, forums, blogs and more, get involved today & join our community!

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