Remarkable People

Apollo 14 astronaut Captain Edgar Dean "Ed" Mitchell dies at age 85

Mitchell was the Lunar Module Pilot of the LEM Antares on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971
Mitchell was the Lunar Module Pilot of the LEM Antares on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971
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Shepard and Mitchell training on Earth for the Apollo 14 mission
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Shepard and Mitchell training on Earth for the Apollo 14 mission
Apollo 14 lifting off
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Apollo 14 lifting off
Ed Mitchell deploying surface experiments on the Moon
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Ed Mitchell deploying surface experiments on the Moon
Ed Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the Moon
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Ed Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the Moon
Ed Mitchell with the American flag on the Moon
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Ed Mitchell with the American flag on the Moon
The Antares on the Moon
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The Antares on the Moon
Ed Mitchell with the equipment cart
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Ed Mitchell with the equipment cart
Ed Mitchell and Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard
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Ed Mitchell and Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard
Apollo 14 rolling out for launch
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Apollo 14 rolling out for launch
The crew of Apollo 14. Left to right, Command Module Pilot Stuart A. Roosa, Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell, and Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr
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The crew of Apollo 14. Left to right, Command Module Pilot Stuart A. Roosa, Lunar Module Pilot Edgar D. Mitchell, and Commander Alan B. Shepard Jr
Apollo 14 returns to Earth
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Apollo 14 returns to Earth
Mitchell being helped by US Navy diver from the Command Module Kitty Hawk
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Mitchell being helped by US Navy diver from the Command Module Kitty Hawk
Shepard and Mitchell on the Moon
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Shepard and Mitchell on the Moon
Mitchell was the Lunar Module Pilot of the LEM Antares on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971
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Mitchell was the Lunar Module Pilot of the LEM Antares on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971

Some of us of a certain age felt a little bit older today after news that Captain Edgar Dean "Ed" Mitchell has died age 85. The US Navy veteran and NASA astronaut was the Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971 and was the sixth man to walk on the Moon. Speaking to the Palm Beach Post, Mitchell's daughter said he passed away on Thursday at 10:00 pm EST in hospice care at Lake Worth, Florida.

Edgar D. Mitchell was born on September 17 in Hereford, Texas, though he regarded Artesia, New Mexico, as his home town. He had a B.S. in Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon (1952), a B.S. in Aeronautics from the US Naval Postgraduate School (1961). and a Doctorate in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1964).

In 1953, Mitchell joined the US Navy and served on deployments in the Pacific region and flew A3 aircraft from the aircraft carriers USS Bon Homme Richard and USS Ticonderoga. In 1959, he moved to aircraft development and served as Chief of the Project Management Division of the Navy Field Office for Manned Orbiting Laboratory from 1964 to 1965 before receiving test pilot certification in 1966, when he was seconded to NASA.

Ed Mitchell with the American flag on the Moon
Ed Mitchell with the American flag on the Moon

In 1971, Mitchell flew as Lunar Module Pilot on the Apollo 14 mission along with Command Module Pilot Stuart A Roosa and Mission Commander Alan B Shepard Jr. Despite a faulty Abort signal and malfunctioning radar, Mitchell and Shepard managed to land the LEM Antares closer to target than any of the other six Apollo landings.

During their two EVAs at Fra Mauro, Mitchell and Shepard achieved a series of records and firsts, including the first color television transmissions from the lunar surface, the largest rock sample payload (94 lb, 42.6 kg) returned from the Moon, and the longest distance traversed on foot on the Moon.

In 1973, Mitchell retired from the Navy and NASA to found the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which was dedicated to studying the nature of consciousness, and in 1984 he co-founded the Association of Space Explorers, which was an international organization for all who "share experience of space travel." He also courted controversy with his views on paranormal activity and his beliefs regarding UFOs.

Ed Mitchell and Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard
Ed Mitchell and Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard

"On behalf of the entire NASA family, I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement. "As a member of the Apollo 14 crew, Edgar is one of only 12 men to walk on the moon and he helped to change how we view our place in the universe. "

Edgar Mitchell was twice divorced with three children, three stepchildren and nine grandchildren.

NASA provided the silent video below as a tribute to Mitchell's contributions to space exploration.

Sources: NASA, Palm Beach Post

Edgar Mitchell Apollo Moonwalker Dies at 85 (silent video)

3 comments
Mel Tisdale
To paraphrase Kipling: You were a braver man than I, Edgar Mitchell.
AstroTexan
Godspeed Captain Mitchell and thank you...
Nostromo47
Astronaut Mitchell was a great inspiration to me. He was a man of science and as an astronaut, a man of action whose accomplishments were topped by travelling to the surface of the moon! At the same time, this man who was a student of rigorous physical sciences, also seriously delved into the more nebulously understood areas of the capabilities of the human mind. His was a life properly celebrated for the incredible potential of what humans can do and be.