Today I had the opportunity to meet the 6th man to set foot on the Moon : Ed Mitchell.
Ed Mitchel and Alan Shepard Landed to Lunar Lander Module on Februry 5th, 1971 with Stuart Roosa in the orbiting Command Module.
They collected over 42kg of moon rock.
In Europe the opportunity to go see a Moon Walker is very rare, so when I heard about it from a fellow scifi fan it took less than 5 minutes to decide and and a few more to buy the ticket. Who knows if a living Moon Walker will ever come so close to where I live – about 1 hour’s drive.
Mitchell talked about his way to the Moon, from a farm boy with hay fever (ouch!) and a keen interest in flying machines, via a naval career to becoming an astronaut, and finally being selected as member of a backup crew on Apollo 10. Apollo 10 was a test flight for the Lunar Module, and it approached the Lunar surface until the height of just under 16km, at the time the closest any manned space craft had been to the Moon. No landing.
The Mitchell/Roosa/Shepard crew was intended to go with Apollo 13, but due to health risk Apollo 13 was launched with the backup crew. Most of us will know that Apollo 13 had an accident and could not land on the Moon, but they were – with many difficulties and a lot of expertise – brought safely back to Earth – by a very small margin. I still remember those days when a lot of people all over the world were biting the nails ….
The Apollo 14 mission went with very few surprises, we were shown lots of photos from the mission, including Al Shepard’s golf demonstration on the Moon.
Like essentially all astronauts who went to the Moon, He told us about what the view of Earth hanging in the sky, so far away did to him. The realization of how small and fragile it is, how thin the atmosphere is, the thing that provides us with oxygen, and, as important, a shield against Solar and cosmic radiation.
Briefly he mentioned his personal belief that aliens have visited Earth, and his interest in experiments and research in parapsychology. Since most of us came to hear about his journey to the Moon, we were quite happy with the balance of subjects in his talk, although it is apparent that the last two subjects are close to his heart.
All in all a very interesting afternoon. If another Moon Walker will come to a place near me, I shall take the opportunity again if at all possible.
Update : July 7 : Pictures added :