The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology will kick off its 2013-14 ArtsFusion seminar series on Friday, Sept. 20, with two public events featuring Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who will share his experiences as a lunar module pilot working on the moon’s surface and present excerpts from a documentary film about his mission. 

Mitchell’s visit to Blacksburg will include a public talk at 1 p.m. at the Fralin Life Science Institute at 360 West Campus Drive, where he’ll discuss his training and educational experiences that prepared him to become an astronaut. He will also detail the 1971 Apollo 14 mission, where he became the sixth of only 12 people to step on the moon. Mitchell welcomes audience interaction during his talks and encourages participants to ask questions. 

At 10 a.m. the same day at the Lyric Theatre in Blacksburg, the former astronaut will share portions of the 2006 documentary, “In the Shadow of the Moon,” about his Apollo 14 mission. The screening will be followed by an open question-and-answer session. 

Both events are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with Mitchell’s Blacksburg visit, the Science Museum is sponsoring a series of events in Roanoke, Va., including three presentations by Mitchell at the museum, one of which is part of a special dinner event on Sept. 20. 

“To the Moon” will include short film excerpts, a presentation by Mitchell, and a lunar-themed dinner and auction.  Mitchell’s visit marks the beginning of a $575,000 fundraising campaign to re-equip the museum’s 30-year-old Hopkins Planetarium Theater. Signed copies of Mitchell’s book, “The Way of the Explorer,” will be for sale at his appearances for $75. Mitchell will donate a portion of the book’s proceeds to the Science Museum of Western Virginia.

On Feb. 5, 1971, Mitchell became one of only 12 astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin and the late Neil Armstrong, to step on the moon. Only eight of those astronauts now survive. 

Mitchell, now 82, served as a test pilot for the U.S. Navy, and while on active duty he completed a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and a doctorate in aeronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mitchell also served as a fighter pilot during the Korean War and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1970. 

He was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, flying with Alan Shepard, who was the first American in space. The mission was watched closely around the world because it was America’s return to lunar missions after the Apollo 13 near-disaster. It also was the first mission devoted to doing science on the moon. After retiring from NASA in 1972, Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences and later wrote the book, “The Way of the Explorer.” He has spoken all over the world about his space travel adventures.

These events are co-presented by the Science Museum of Western Virginia.



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