Harrison Schmitt

Harrison Schmitt

Infobox Astronaut
name = Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt

type = NASA Astronaut
status = Retired
nationality = American
date_birth = birth date and age|1935|07|3
place_birth = Santa Rita, New Mexico
occupation = Geologist
selection = Scientist group
time = 12d 13h 52 m
mission = Apollo 17
insignia =

Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt (born July 3, 1935) is an American geologist, a former NASA astronaut and a one-term U.S. Senator. He is the twelfth person to walk on the Moon; as of 2008, of the nine living moonwalkers, he and his crewmate Eugene Andrew Cernan were the last two to walk there.

Early life and education

Born in Santa Rita, New Mexico, Schmitt grew up in nearby Silver City. He received a B.S. degree in science from the California Institute of Technology in 1957 and then spent a year studying geology at the University of Oslo in Norway. He received a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University in 1964.

NASA career

Before joining NASA as a member of the first group of scientist-astronauts in June 1965, he worked at the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Center at Flagstaff, Arizona, developing geological field techniques that would be used by the Apollo crews. Following his selection, Schmitt played a key role in training Apollo crews to be geologic observers when they were in lunar orbit and competent geologic field workers when they were on the lunar surface. After each of the landing missions, he participated in the examination and evaluation of the returned lunar samples and helped the crews with the scientific aspects of their mission reports.

Because Schmitt was the only geologist in the astronaut corps and had spent considerable time becoming proficient in the CSM and LM systems, it came as no surprise when, in March 1970, he became the first of the scientist-astronauts to receive a crew assignment. He joined Richard F. Gordon, Jr. (Commander) and Vance Brand (Command Module Pilot) on the backup crew for Apollo 15 and was clearly in line to fly as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 18. After the cancellation of the Apollo 18 moon mission in September 1970, many people expected that he would be assigned to fly on Apollo 17, the last lunar mission. That assignment was announced in August 1971.

During the Apollo 17 flight, Schmitt probably took a photograph of the Earth called The Blue Marble, one of the most widely distributed photographic images in existence (NASA officially credits the image to the entire Apollo 17 crew, and Schmitt claims that he personally took the image.) As he returned to the Apollo Lunar Module before his crewmate Gene Cernan, Schmitt is the second to the last person to have set foot on the moon's surface. After the completion of Apollo 17, Schmitt played an active role in documenting the Apollo geologic results and also took on the task of organizing NASA's Energy Program Office.

Post-NASA career

Infobox_Senator | name=Harrison Schmitt

jr/sr=United States Senator
state=New Mexico
term_start =January 3, 1977
term_end =January 3, 1983
preceded=Joseph Montoya
succeeded=Jeff Bingaman
date of birth=birth date and age|1935|07|3
place of birth=Santa Rita, New Mexico
date of death=
place of death=

In August 1975, Schmitt resigned from NASA to seek election as a Republican to the United States Senate representing New Mexico. Schmitt faced two-term Democratic incumbent, Joseph Montoya, whom he defeated 57% to 42%. He served one term and, notably, was the ranking Republican member of the Science, Technology, and Space Subcommittee. He sought a second term in 1982, but due to a deep recession and concerns that he wasn't paying attention to local matters, he was defeated in a re-election bid by the state Attorney General Jeff Bingaman by a 54% to 46% margin. Following his Senate term, he has been a consultant in business, geology, space, and public policy.

He lives in Silver City, New Mexico, and spends some of his summer at his northern Minnesota lake cabin. He is also an advocate of returning to the moon (see Project Constellation), as the moon could be used as a source of helium-3, a rare isotope of helium that can be used as a fuel for nuclear fusion reactors.

Schmitt is chair of the NASA Advisory Council, [ [http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oer/nac NASA Advisory Council ] ] whose mandate is to provide technical advice to NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin. Schmitt is an adjunct professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison [ [http://www.engr.wisc.edu/ep/faculty/schmitt_harrison.html Schmitt, Harrison J ] ] . He is the founder and serves as chairman of Interlune Intermars Initiative Inc., an organization whose goal is to advance the private sector’s acquisition and use of lunar resources.

chmitt in popular culture

*Schmitt was portrayed by Tom Amandes in the 1998 miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon".
*Schmitt was mentioned in , an episode of "King of the Hill".
*He appeared in an episode of the television show Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Awards and honors

* He was made an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of America for his efforts in geoscience in 1984. [ [http://www.geosociety.org/aboutus/awards/past.htm Geological Society of America: Award & Medal Recipients ] ]
*One of the elementary schools in Schmitt's hometown of Silver City, New Mexico was named in his honor in the mid-'70s. An image of the astronaut riding a rocket through space is displayed on the front of "Harrison Schmitt Elementary School."


Schmitt is one of the astronauts featured in the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon.

Apollo 17
Apollo 17


External links

* [http://www.dailycardinal.com/article/920915 UW prof recounts '72 trip to moon]

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