Harrison Schmitt

Harrison Schmitt

Apollo 17 astronaut; former U.S. senator, R-N.M.; associate fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; member of the National Space Council Users Advisory Group

Selected for the scientist-astronaut program in 1965, Harrison Schmitt organized the lunar science training for the Apollo astronauts, represented the crews during the development of hardware and procedures for lunar surface exploration, and oversaw the final preparation of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Descent Stage. He was designated mission scientist in support of the Apollo 11 mission. After training as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 15, he served as lunar module pilot for Apollo 17, the last Apollo mission to the moon. On December 11, 1972, he landed in the Valley of Taurus-Littrow as the only scientist and the last of 12 astronauts to step on the moon. In 1975, after spending two years managing NASA's Energy Program Office, Schmitt fulfilled a longstanding personal commitment by entering politics. Elected in 1976, he served a six-year term in the U.S. Senate beginning in 1977. The only natural scientist to serve in the Senate since Thomas Jefferson served as vice president, Schmitt was a member of the Senate Commerce, Banking, Appropriations, Intelligence, and Ethics Committees. In his last two years in the Senate, he chaired the Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. He also has served as chairman of the NASA Advisory Council. His scientific research concentrates primarily on the synthesis of data related to the origin and evolution of the moon and the terrestrial planets and on the economic geology of the lunar regolith and its resources. Currently he is an associate fellow in engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching “Resources from Space.” His book, Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space, was published by Springer in 2006. Since 1964, he has been the author of many scientific journal papers and book chapters related to exploration, space, and lunar science.


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