Edgar D. Mitchell, 1930–2016

John B. Alexander

Abstract


On February 4, 2016, America lost a great hero, Captain Edgar Dean Mitchell, Ph.D., a member of an extremely elite club of men who walked on the Moon. Dr. Mitchell had been a member of SSE and a personal friend to many of us and an inspiration to all who knew of his momentous achievements.

                        Transfixed, on February 5, 1971, the entire world watched with bated breath as Apollo 14 astronaut and command pilot Edgar Mitchell successfully landed the LEM, Antares, on the surface of the Moon near the Fra Mauro highlands. Given the near-fatal catastrophe that had befallen Apollo 13, their renascent venture into space was a testament to human courage and determination. With fellow astronaut Alan Shepard, he conducted two EVAs (Extravehicular activities, as Moon-walks were called) and accomplished a series of records. They included the first color television transmissions from the Moon and the collection of the largest lunar rock sample payload (42.6 kg). Mitchell and Shepard had the longest lunar surface stay time (33 hours), the longest lunar surface EVA (9 hours and 23 minutes), and also traversed the most distance on foot on the Moon.


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