Edgar Dean "Ed" Mitchell (September 17, 1930 – February 4, 2016) (Captain, USN) was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer, ufologist 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 educationEdit

Mitchell thesis

Mitchell's doctoral thesis on space vehicle guidance on display at the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame

Mitchell was born on September 17, 1930, in Hereford, Texas.[1] He came from a ranching family that moved to New Mexico during the Depression and considered Artesia, New Mexico (near Roswell)[2] as his hometown. He first learned to fly at 13[3] and was active in the Boy Scouts of America where he achieved its second highest rank, Life Scout.[4] He was also a member of DeMolay International, part of the Masonic Fraternity, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame. Mitchell was a member of Artesia Lodge #29 in New Mexico.[5] He enjoyed handball, tennis, and swimming, and his hobbies included scuba diving and soaring.

He graduated from Artesia High School in 1948. Mitchell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management from the 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's 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 was twice divorced,[6] and had three children, three stepchildren, and nine grandchildren.

Flight experienceEdit

In May 1953, after completing instruction at the Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island, he was commissioned an Ensign. He completed flight training in July 1954 at Hutchinson, Kansas, was designated as a Naval Aviator and was subsequently assigned to Patrol Squadron 29 (VP-29) flying land-based patrol planes, deployed to Okinawa.[7] From 1957 to 1958, he transitioned to carrier-based jet aircraft and flew the A3D Skywarrior while assigned to Heavy Attack Squadron Two (VAH-2) deployed aboard the aircraft carriers USS Bon Homme Richard and USS Ticonderoga. He qualified as a research pilot and flew with Air Development Squadron Five until 1959. From 1964 to 1965 he served as Chief, Project Management Division of the Navy Field Office for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. From 1965 to 1966 he attended Aerospace Research Pilot School in preparation for astronaut duties, and certification as a test pilot, graduating first in his class. Mitchell served as an instructor in advanced mathematics and navigation theory for astronaut candidates.[citation needed]

Mitchell was 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.[citation needed]

He accumulated 5,000 hours flight time, including 2,000 hours in jet aircraft.[citation needed]

He resided in Palm Beach County, Florida from 1975 until his death.[7]

NASA careerEdit

Main article: Apollo 14

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.[8]
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 aboard the Lunar Module "Antares" in the hilly upland Fra Mauro Highlands region. For two days, February 5 and 6, 1971, Mitchell and Alan Shepard 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 television 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.[citation needed]
Mitchell Studies Map - GPN-2000-001146

Mitchell studies a map while walking on the Moon, February 6, 1971

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.[7]

During the mission, he took photos, including the one with Shepard raising the American flag. In the photo Mitchell's shadow is cast over the lunar surface near the flag. That photo was listed on Popular Science's photo gallery of the best astronaut selfies.[9]

Post-NASA careerEdit

Mitchell was named as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970 by President Richard Nixon.[citation needed]

In 1975, Mitchell moved to Palm Beach County, Florida and lived there until his death.[7]

On June 29, 2011, the federal government of the United States 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.[10] 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.[11] 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 included consciousness and paranormal phenomena. On his way back to Earth during the Apollo 14 flight he had a powerful savikalpa samādhi experience,[12] and also claimed to have conducted private ESP experiments with his friends on Earth.[13] The results of said experiments were published in the Journal of Parapsychology in 1971.[14] He was the founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) for the purpose of consciousness research and other "related phenomena".[15] 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.[16]

Remote healingEdit

Mitchell claimed that a teenage remote healer living in Vancouver and using 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".[17]

Views on UFOsEdit

Mitchell publicly expressed his opinions that he was "90 percent sure that many of the thousands of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, recorded since the 1940s, belong to visitors from other planets".[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] He said, "We all know that UFOs are real; now the question is where they come from."[21]


Edgar Mitchell, February 2009

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."[22][23]

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.[24][25]

In an interview for AskMen published March 6, 2014, Mitchell said that 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."[26]

In 2015, Mitchell made what Huffington Post U.K. characterized as "the astonishing claim that it was aliens, not diplomacy, which prevented the Cold War from descending into the Third World War."[27] In a Daily Mirror interview, Mitchell said "White Sands was a testing ground for atomic weapons — and that's what the extraterrestrials were interested in. They wanted to know about our military capabilities. My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth ..."[28]

Other projectsEdit

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

Mitchell wrote several articles and essays,[29] as well as several books. In The Way of the Explorer, Mitchell proposed a dyadic model of reality.[30]

He was the Advisory Board Chairman of the Institute for Cooperation in Space, co-founded by Dr. Carol Rosin[31] and a member of INREES.

Mitchell was 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".[32]


Mitchell died under hospice care in West Palm Beach, Florida, on February 4, 2016, at the age of 85.[6][33]


He was 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; The Explorers Club; World Futures Society; International Platform Association; and he was also an honorary member of the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association.[34]

Awards and honorsEdit

Mitchell's other awards included:

In mediaEdit

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

He was the subject of a chapter of Chris Wright's book No More Worlds to Conquer, which asks how people who are famed for one moment moved on with their life. In it he talked at length about his beliefs in extraterrestrial visitation, the power of the mind, and his certainty that his cancer had been cured "by mind means".


See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Mitchell". 
  2. Template:Cite AV media
  3. Template:Cite news
  4. "Scouting and Space Exploration". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Goldstein, Richard (February 5, 2016). "Edgar D. Mitchell, Sixth Moonwalking Astronaut, Dies at 85". The New York Times. p. A21. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Astronaut Bio: Edgar Dean Mitchell". Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  8. "Quote by Edgar Mitchell: "You develop an instant global consciousness, a ..."". Goodreads. 
  9. "Best Astronaut Selfies". Popular Science Magazine. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  10. Template:Cite news
  11. Template:Cite news
  12. samadhi in space – an interview with apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell
  13. "Private Lunar ESP: An Interview with Edgar Mitchell". 
  14. "Book Review:Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality by Dean Radin (Paraview Pocket Books 2006) by Robert T. Carroll". 
  15. Kluger, Jeffrey (July 16, 2009). "40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing; Edgar Mitchell". Time magazine. p. 17.,28804,1910599_1910685_1910665,00.html. Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  16. Template:Cite interview
  17. Template:Cite news
  18. "Edgar Mitchell On The UFO Cover-Up". UFO UpDates. October 11, 1998. Archived from the original on January 28, 2007. Retrieved February 7, 2007. 
  19. "Interview on Dateline NBC April 19, 1996". UFO Evidence. Retrieved May 27, 2009. 
  20. Waveney Ann Moore (February 18, 2004). "Astronaut: We've had visitors". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved October 14, 2007. 
  21. Visitors from space, Vieraita taivaalta, TV program of Juhan af Grann from the beginning of 1990s
  22. Apollo 14 astronaut claims aliens HAVE made contact Daily Mail July 24, 2008
  23. The Audio interview of Dr. Mitchell on Kerrang Radio on YouTube
  24. "Commenting on recent disclosure with Kerrang Radio". Fox News Channel. July 25, 2008. 
  25. Template:Cite news
  26. Clash, Jim. "Ed Mitchell Interview". AskMen. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  27. Tamblyn, Thomas Aliens Helped Stop The Third World War Says Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, HuffPost Tech – United Kingdom, August 17, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  28. Hammill, Jasper 'Peace-loving aliens tried to save America from nuclear war,' claims moon mission astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Mirror Online Web site, August 17, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  29. Articles and essays by Edgar Mitchell
  30. "Dyadic Model of Reality", IONS, by Doris Lora, December 2003
  31. "ICIS Board of Directors & Advisors", Institute for Cooperation in Space
  32. "List of Initial Signatories"
  33. "Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, 85, dies in West Palm Beach". The Palm Beach Post. 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2016-02-05. 
  34. "Astronaut Bio: Edgar Dean Mitchell (Captain, USN, Ret.)". 
  35. "Edgar Mitchell – Astronaut Scholarship Foundation". 

External linksEdit

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