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Edgar Mitchell

Edgar D. Mitchell
File:Edgar Mitchell cropped.jpg
NASA Astronaut
Nationality American
Status Retired
Born Edgar Dean Mitchell
(1930-09-17) September 17, 1930 (age 85)
Hereford, Texas, U.S.
Other occupation
Test pilot
CIT, B.S. 1952
NPS, B.S. 1961
MIT, Sc.D. 1964
Rank Captain, USN
Time in space
9d 00h 01m
Selection 1966 NASA Group 5
Total EVAs
Total EVA time
9 hours 23 minutes
Missions Apollo 14
Mission insignia
Retirement October 1, 1972
Awards Presidential Medal of Freedom

Edgar Dean "Ed" Mitchell, Sc.D. (born September 17, 1930), (Capt, USN, Ret.), is an American former naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, and NASA astronaut. As the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14, he spent nine hours working on the lunar surface in the Fra Mauro Highlands region, making him the sixth person to walk on the Moon.


Early life and education

File:Mitchell thesis.JPG
Mitchell's doctoral thesis on space vehicle guidance on display at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
Mitchell was born on September 17, 1930, in Hereford, Texas.[1] He considers his hometown Artesia, New Mexico (near Roswell).[2] He was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout.[3] He was also a member of DeMolay International, part of the Masonic Fraternity, and has been inducted into its Hall of Fame. Mitchell is a member of Artesia Lodge #29 in New Mexico.[4] He enjoys handball, tennis, and swimming, and his hobbies are scuba diving and soaring.

He graduated from Artesia High School in 1948. Mitchell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1952.[1] The following year he joined the U.S. Navy, and completed basic training at San Diego Recruit Depot. While on active duty in the Navy, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1961, and a Doctor of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964.[1]

He is divorced, and he has three children: Karlyn L. (born August 12, 1953), Elizabeth R. (March 24, 1959), and Adam (born August 11, 1984), as well as three stepchildren: Kimberley (born October 7, 1961), Mary Beth (born March 19, 1964), and Paul (born March 21, 1963). He also has nine grandchildren.

Flight experience

In May 1953, after completing instruction at the Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island, he was commissioned an Ensign pilot. He completed flight training in July 1954 at Hutchinson, Kansas, and was subsequently assigned to Patrol Squadron 29 deployed to Okinawa.

From 1957 to 1958, he flew A3 aircraft while assigned to Heavy Attack Squadron Two deployed aboard the aircraft carriers USS Bon Homme Richard and USS Ticonderoga. He qualified as a research pilot with Air Development Squadron Five until 1959. From 1964 to 1965 he served as Chief, Project Management Division of the Navy Field Office for Manned Orbiting Laboratory. 1965–1966 was spent at the Aerospace Research Pilot School (graduated first in his class) in preparation for astronaut duties, and certification as a test pilot. Mitchell served as an instructor in advanced mathematics and navigation theory for astronaut candidates.

Mitchell is a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, and carried one of the order's badges to the Moon; it is now kept at his home chapter of Kappa Sigma at Carnegie Mellon University.

He has accumulated 5,000 hours flight time, including 2,000 hours in jet aircraft.

He has resided in Palm Beach County, Florida since 1975.

NASA career

Main article: Apollo 14
File:Mitchell Studies Map - GPN-2000-001146.jpg
Mitchell studies a map while walking on the Moon, February 6, 1971

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch'.

— Mitchell, describing his experience of seeing the Earth from the Moon.[5]

Mitchell was selected to be an astronaut in 1966 and was seconded from the Navy to NASA. He was designated as backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 10, and served as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14, landing Antares (the Lunar Module) in the hilly upland Fra Mauro region Fra Mauro Highlands region. For two days, February 5 and 6, 1971, Shepard and Mitchell deployed and activated scientific equipment and experiments on the lunar surface. They collected almost 100 pounds of lunar samples for return to Earth. Other Apollo 14 achievements include: first use of Mobile Equipment Transporter (MET); largest payload placed in lunar orbit; longest distance traversed on foot on the lunar surface; largest payload returned from the lunar surface; longest lunar surface stay time (33 hours); longest lunar surface EVA (9 hours and 23 minutes); first use of shortened lunar orbit rendezvous techniques; first use of color TV with new vidicon tube; and first extensive orbital science period conducted during CSM solo operations. He became the sixth person to walk on the Moon. Apollo 14 was the longest walk performed by astronauts on the lunar surface.

In completing his first space flight, Mitchell logged a total of 216 hours and 42 minutes in space. He was subsequently designated to serve as backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16. In 1972, Mitchell retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy.

During the mission, he took photos including the one with Shepard raising the American flag. In the photo Mitchell's shadow casts over the lunar surface near the flag. That photo was listed on Popular Science's photo gallery of the best astronaut selfies.[6]

Post-NASA career

Edgar Mitchell was named as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 by President Richard Nixon.

On June 29, 2011, the United States Government filed a lawsuit against Mitchell in the United States District Court in Miami, Florida after discovering that he placed a camera used on Apollo 14 for auction at the auction house Bonhams. The litigation requested the camera be returned to NASA. Mitchell's position was that NASA had given him the camera as a gift upon the completion of the Apollo 14 mission. Bonhams withdrew the camera from auction.[7] In October 2011, attorneys representing the government and Mitchell reached a settlement agreement, and Mitchell agreed to return the camera to NASA, which in turn would donate it for display at the National Air and Space Museum.[8] On September 20, 2012 Congress enacted H.R. 4158, confirming full ownership rights of artifacts to astronauts on Apollo (and Mercury and Gemini) space missions.

Mitchell's interests include consciousness and paranormal phenomena. On his way back to Earth during the Apollo 14 flight he had a powerful savikalpa samādhi experience,[9] and also claimed to have conducted private ESP experiments with his friends on Earth.[10] The results of said experiments were published in the Journal of Parapsychology in 1971.[11] He is the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) for the purpose of consciousness research and other "related phenomena".[12] On the Opie and Anthony radio show, Buzz Aldrin described a psychic communication experiment that Mitchell conducted during the Apollo 14 flight, wherein Mitchell attempted to transmit information to participants on Earth.[13]

Remote healing

Mitchell claims that a teenage remote healer who lives in Vancouver and uses the pseudonym Adam Dreamhealer helped him heal kidney cancer from a distance. Mitchell said that while he never had a biopsy, "I had a sonogram and MRI that was consistent with renal carcinoma." Adam worked (distantly) on Mitchell from December 2003 until June 2004, when the "irregularity was gone and we haven't seen it since".[14]

Views on UFOs

Mitchell has publicly expressed his opinions that he is "90 percent sure that many of the thousands of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, recorded since the 1940s, belong to visitors from other planets".[15] Dateline NBC conducted an interview with Mitchell on April 19, 1996, during which he discussed meeting with officials from three countries who claimed to have had personal encounters with extraterrestrials. He offered his opinion that the evidence for such "alien" contact was "very strong" and "classified" by governments, who were covering up visitations and the existence of alien beings' bodies in places such as Roswell, New Mexico. He further claimed that UFOs had provided "sonic engineering secrets" that were helpful to the U.S. government. Mitchell's book, The Way of the Explorer, discusses his journey into mysticism and space.[16]

In 2004 he told the St. Petersburg Times that a "cabal of insiders" in the U.S. government were studying recovered alien bodies, and that this group had stopped briefing U.S. Presidents after John F. Kennedy.[17] He said, "We all know that UFOs are real; now the question is where they come from."[18]

On July 23, 2008 Edgar Mitchell was interviewed on Kerrang Radio by Nick Margerrison. Mitchell claimed the Roswell crash was real and that aliens have contacted humans several times, but that governments have hidden the truth for 60 years, stating: "I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we've been visited on this planet, and the UFO phenomenon is real." In reply, a spokesman for NASA stated: "NASA does not track UFOs. NASA is not involved in any sort of cover up about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe. Dr Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinions on this issue."[19][20]

In an interview with Fox News on July 25, 2008, Mitchell clarified that his comments did not involve NASA, but quoted unnamed sources, since deceased, at Roswell who confided to him that the Roswell incident did involve an alien craft. Mitchell also claims to have subsequently received confirmation from an unnamed intelligence officer at the Pentagon.[21][22]

In an interview for AskMen published March 6, 2014, Mitchell admitted he had never seen a UFO, that no one had ever threatened him over his claims regarding UFOs, and that any statements about the covering up of UFOs being a worldwide cabal was "just speculation on my part."[23]

Edgar Mitchell, February 2009

Other projects

Edgar Mitchell appears in the documentaries In the Shadow of the Moon, The Phoenix Lights...We Are Not Alone, and The Living Matrix.

Mitchell has written several articles and essays,[24] as well as several books. In The Way of the Explorer, Mitchell proposed a dyadic model of reality.[25]

He is currently the Advisory Board Chairman of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, co-founded by Dr. Carol Rosin[26] and is a member of INREES.

Mitchell is one of the initial supporters of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly – which would be a first step towards a "world parliament".[27]


He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; the Society of Experimental Test Pilots; Sigma Xi; Sigma Gamma Tau, New York Academy of Sciences; Explorers Club; World Futures Society; International Platform Association; and he is also an honorary member of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association.[28]

Awards and honors

Mitchell's other awards include -

Honorary Doctorates from New Mexico State University (1971); Carnegie-Mellon University (1971); University of Akron (1979); and Embry-Riddle University (1996); American Astronautical Society's Flight Achievement Award; Carnegie Mellon University Alumni, Outstanding Man of the Year (1972); Kappa Sigma, Man of the Year Award (1972); Adventurers Club, Gold Medal Award for Exploration; Drexel University, Engineering and Science Award for Explorations in Consciousness (1974); Explorers Club, Lowell Thomas Award for Explorations in Human Consciousness (1980).

In media

In the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon Mitchell was played by Gary Cole.

Physical description

  • Weight: 180 lb (82 kg)
  • Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Green[30]


See also


  1. ^ a b c Astronautix biography
  2. ^ Dr. Edgar Mitchell interview (video)
  3. ^ Edgar D. Mitchell at
  4. ^
  5. ^ Edgar Mitchell quotation
  6. ^ "Best Astronaut Selfies". Popular Science Magazine. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Staff (July 1, 2011). "Government Sues Apollo Astronaut Over Moon Camera". Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  8. ^ Wides-Munuz, Laura (October 28, 2011). "Prosecutors Settle With Apollo Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Who Tried to Sell Camera Used on Moon". ABC News. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ samadhi in space – an interview with apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell
  10. ^ "Private Lunar ESP: An Interview with Edgar Mitchell". 
  11. ^ "Book Review:Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality by Dean Radin (Paraview Pocket Books 2006) by Robert T. Carroll". 
  12. ^ Kluger, Jeffrey (July 16, 2009). "40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing; Edgar Mitchell". Time magazine. p. 17. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ Aldrin, Buzz (May 7, 2013). The Opie and Anthony Show. radio with Anthony Cumia; Gregg "Opie" Hughes; Jim Norton. New York. 
  14. ^ Jill Neimark (March–April 2006). "The Big Bird, the Big Lie, God, and Science". <span />Skeptical Inquirer<span /> 30 (2). 
  15. ^ "Edgar Mitchell On The UFO Cover-Up". UFO UpDates. 1998-10-11. Archived from the original on 2007-01-28. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  16. ^ "Interview on Dateline NBC April 19, 1996". UFO Evidence. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  17. ^ Waveney Ann Moore (2004-02-18). "Astronaut: We've had visitors". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  18. ^ Visitors from space, Vieraita taivaalta, TV program of Juhan af Grann from the beginning of 1990s
  19. ^ Apollo 14 astronaut claims aliens HAVE made contact Daily Mail July 24, 2008
  20. ^ The Audio interview of Dr. Mitchell on Kerrang Radio on YouTube
  21. ^ "Commenting on recent disclosure with Kerrang Radio". Fox News. 2008-07-25. 
  22. ^ "Former astronaut: Man not alone in universe". CNN. 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  23. ^ Clash, Jim. "Ed Mitchell Interview". AskMen. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  24. ^ Articles and essays by Edgar Mitchell
  25. ^ "Dyadic Model of Reality", IONS, by Doris Lora, December 2003
  26. ^ "ICIS Board of Directors & Advisors", Institute for Cooperation in Space
  27. ^ "List of Initial Signatories"
  28. ^ Edgar Mitchell's memberships
  29. ^ Edgar Mitchell inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame
  30. ^ Edgar Mitchell's physical description

External links

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