Former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell who walked on Moon dies

Former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell who walked on Moon dies

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, one of the very few humans who walked on the Moon, died Thursday night at a hospital in Florida. He was 85.

Kimberly Mitchell, the daughter of the great astronaut, said he breathed his last breath at a West Palm Beach hospital following a brief illness. His death coincides with the 45th anniversary of the decades-old Apollo 14 mission that ran from January 31 to February 9, 1971.

Mitchell and two other astronauts, viz. Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa, landed on the Moon on January 31, 1971. Mitchell became the sixth human to walk on the lunar surface. The trio spent more than nine hours there, collecting rocks and taking certain measurements. Mitchell took a famous photograph of Shepard standing next to the U.S. flag.

Mitchell found the trip to be a profound experience. He wrote in his 1996 autobiography, "It occurred to me that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spacecraft itself were manufactured long ago in the furnace of one of the ancient stars that burned in the heavens about me."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden expressed condolences to Mitchell's family and friends on behalf of the entire NASA family.

With Mitchell's demise, of the 12 men who have walked on the lunar surface, seven survive, viz. Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, John W. Young, Harrison Schmitt, David Scott, Charles Duke and Eugene Cernan.