Apollo 14 moonwalker Edgar Mitchell dies at 85

Image: Edgar Mitchell
Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell sits for his official portrait in 1970. Mitchell’s crewmates on the mission in 1971 were Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa. (Credit: NASA)

Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell has died at the age of 85 after a months-long illness, according to reports that emerged on the 45th anniversary of his first moonwalk.

Members of Mitchell’s family spread the word on Feb. 5 in obituaries published by news outlets in Palm Beach, Fla., where the former astronaut lived. The Palm Beach Post quoted his daughter, Kimberly Mitchell, as saying he died at a local hospice at about 10 p.m. ET the previous night.

“As a member of the Apollo 14 crew, Edgar is one of only 12 men to walk on the moon, and he helped to change how we view our place in the universe,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.

Edgar Mitchell took part in the first lunar mission to follow 1970’s nearly disastrous flight of Apollo 13, and became the sixth human to set foot on the moon.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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