Saturday, February 6, 2016

Edgar Mitchell (1930-2016)

Edgar Mitchell, sixth human to visit the lunar surface, takes a live panorama of the close horizon using the first color television camera successfully operated on the Moon; at Fra Mauro, south of Copernicus, February 1971. Photograph by Apollo 14 commander Alan Shepard [NASA/JSC].
Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, passed away Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida,  and on the eve of the 45th anniversary of his lunar expedition in 1971.

Mitchell joined Apollo 14 commander Alan Shephard, Jr., the first American in space, in the lunar module Antares, which touched down February 5, 1971, in the Fra Mauro highlands. Shepard and Mitchell were assigned to traverse the lunar surface to deploy scientific instruments and perform a communications test on the surface, as well as photograph the lunar surface and any deep space phenomena. It was Mitchell’s only spaceflight.

Mitchell and Shephard set mission records for the time of the longest distance traversed on the lunar surface; the largest payload returned from lunar surface; and the longest lunar stay time (33 hours). They were also the first to transmit color TV from the lunar surface. Mitchell helped collect 94 pounds of lunar rock and soil samples that were distributed across 187 scientific teams in the United States and 14 other countries for analysis.

Read the full NASA release HERE.