The Info List - Harrison Schmitt

Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt (born July 3, 1935) is an American geologist, retired NASA
astronaut, university professor, former U.S. senator from New Mexico, and the most recent living person to have walked on the Moon. As of 2018, he is also the last living crew member of Apollo 17. In December 1972, as one of the crew on board Apollo 17, Schmitt became the first member of NASA's first scientist-astronaut group to fly in space. As Apollo 17
Apollo 17
was the last of the Apollo missions, he also became the twelfth and second youngest person to set foot on the Moon, and the second-to-last person to step off of the Moon
(he boarded the Lunar Module shortly before commander Eugene Cernan). Schmitt also remains the first and only professional scientist to have flown beyond low Earth
orbit and to have visited the Moon.[3] He was influential within the community of geologists supporting the Apollo program and, before starting his own preparations for an Apollo mission, had been one of the scientists training those Apollo astronauts chosen to visit the lunar surface. Schmitt resigned from NASA
in August 1975 in order to run for election to the United States Senate
United States Senate
as a member from New Mexico. As the Republican candidate in the 1976 election, he defeated the two-term Democratic incumbent Joseph Montoya, but, running for re-election in 1982, was defeated by Democrat Jeff Bingaman.


1 Biography

1.1 Early life and education 1.2 NASA
career 1.3 Post- NASA

2 Views on global warming 3 In popular culture 4 Awards and honors 5 Media 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Biography[edit] Early life and education[edit] Born in Santa Rita, New Mexico, Schmitt grew up in nearby Silver City,[4] and he is a graduate of the Western High School (class of 1953). He received a B.S. degree in geology from the California Institute of Technology in 1957 and then spent a year studying geology at the University of Oslo
University of Oslo
in Norway.[4][5][6] He received a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University
Harvard University
in 1964, based on his geological field studies in Norway.[4] NASA
career[edit] 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 spent his first year at Air Force UPT learning to become a jet pilot. Upon his return to the astronaut corps in Houston, he 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. Schmitt spent considerable time becoming proficient in the CSM and LM systems. In March 1970 he became the first of the scientist-astronauts to be assigned to space flight, joining Richard F. Gordon, Jr. (Commander) and Vance Brand
Vance Brand
(Command Module Pilot) on the Apollo 15 backup crew. The flight rotation put these three in line to fly as prime crew on the third following mission, Apollo 18. When Apollo flights 18 and 19 were cancelled in September 1970, the community of lunar geologists supporting Apollo felt so strongly about the need to land a professional geologist on the Moon, that they pressured NASA
to reassign Schmitt to a remaining flight. As a result, Schmitt was assigned in August 1971 to fly on the last mission, Apollo 17, replacing Joe Engle
Joe Engle
as Lunar Module Pilot. Schmitt landed on the Moon with commander Gene Cernan
Gene Cernan
in December 1972.[7] Schmitt claims to have taken the photograph of the Earth
known as The Blue Marble, one of the most widely distributed photographic images in existence. ( NASA
officially credits the image to the entire Apollo 17 crew.) While on the Moon's surface, Schmitt — the only geologist in the astronaut corps — collected the rock sample designated Troctolite 76535, which has been called "without doubt the most interesting sample returned from the Moon".[8] Among other distinctions, it is the central piece of evidence suggesting that the Moon
once possessed an active magnetic field.[9] As he returned to the Lunar Module before Cernan, Schmitt is the next-to-last person to have walked 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.

Schmitt poses by the American flag, with Earth
in the background, during Apollo 17's first EVA.

Schmitt collects lunar specimens during the Apollo 17
Apollo 17

Play media

Schmitt falls while on a Moonwalk.

Post- NASA

Senator Schmitt with then-President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
in Roswell, New Mexico, October 1982

Schmitt in 2009

In August 1975, Schmitt resigned from NASA
to seek election as a Republican to the United States Senate
United States Senate
representing New Mexico
New Mexico
in the 1976 election. 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, facing state Attorney General Jeff Bingaman. Bingaman attacked Schmitt for not paying enough attention to local matters; his campaign slogan asked, "What on Earth
has he done for you lately?" This, combined with the deep recession, proved too much for Schmitt to overcome; he was defeated, 54% to 46%.[10] During his term in the Senate, Schmitt sat at the chamber's candy desk. Following his Senate term, Schmitt has been a consultant in business, geology, space, and public policy. Schmitt is an adjunct professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison,[11] and has long been a proponent of lunar resource utilization.[12][13] In 1997 he proposed the Interlune InterMars Initiative, listing among its goals the advancement of private-sector acquisition and use of lunar resources, particularly lunar helium-3 as a fuel for notional nuclear fusion reactors.[14]

Schmitt addends President Donald Trump's signing of Space Policy Directive-1, directing NASA
to resume human flight to the Moon
and beyond

Schmitt was chair of the NASA
Advisory Council, whose mandate is to provide technical advice to the NASA
Administrator, from November 2005 until his abrupt resignation on October 16, 2008.[15] In November 2008, he quit the Planetary Society
Planetary Society
over policy advocacy differences, citing the organization's statements on "focusing on Mars as the driving goal of human spaceflight" (Schmitt said that going back to the Moon
would speed progress toward a manned Mars mission), on "accelerating research into global climate change through more comprehensive Earth
observations" (Schmitt voiced objections to the notion of a present "scientific consensus" on climate change as any policy guide), and on international cooperation (which he felt would retard rather than accelerate progress), among other points of divergence.[16] In January 2011, he was appointed as secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department in the cabinet of Governor Susana Martinez,[17] but was forced to give up the appointment the following month after refusing to submit to a required background investigation.[18] El Paso Times called him the "most celebrated" candidate for New Mexico
New Mexico
energy secretary.[19] Schmitt wrote a book entitled Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space in 2006.[20] He lives in Silver City, New Mexico, and spends some of his summer at his northern Minnesota
lake cabin. Schmitt is also involved in several civic projects, including the improvement of the Senator Harrison H. Schmitt Big Sky Hang Glider Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico.[21] Views on global warming[edit] Further information: Scientific opinion on global warming
Scientific opinion on global warming
and Global warming controversy Schmitt's view on climate change diverges from the frequently reported scientific consensus, as he emphasizes natural over human factors as driving climate. Schmitt has expressed the view that the risks posed by climate change are overrated, and suggests instead that climate change is a tool for people who are trying to increase the size of government.[22] He resigned his membership in the Planetary Society because of its stance on the subject, writing in his resignation letter that the "global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision-making." He spoke at the March 2009 International Conference on Climate Change sponsored by the Heartland Institute.[23] He appeared in December that year on the Fox Business Network, saying "[t]he CO2 scare is a red herring".[24] In a 2009 interview with libertarian talk-radio host Alex Jones, Schmitt asserted a link between Soviet Communism and the American environmental movement: "I think the whole trend really began with the fall of the Soviet Union. Because the great champion of the opponents of liberty, namely communism, had to find some other place to go and they basically went into the environmental movement."[25] At the Heartland Institute's sixth International Conference on Climate Change Schmitt said that climate change was a stalking horse for National Socialism.[26] Schmitt co-authored a May 8, 2013 Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
opinion column with William Happer, contending that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are not significantly correlated with global warming, attributing the "single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas" to advocates of government control of energy production. Noting a positive relationship between crop resistance to drought and increasing carbon dioxide levels, the authors argued, "Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity."[27] In popular culture[edit]

Schmitt was portrayed by Tom Amandes in the 1998 miniseries From the Earth
to the Moon.[28] Schmitt appeared in the 2007 BBC Two documentary Moon
for Sale. Schmitt was interviewed on Infowars, the Alex Jones radio show, on July 31, 2009, regarding his opposition to the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming. He admitted being a fan of the show, saying he "keeps up on things out here". He appeared in an episode of the television show Bill Nye the Science Guy.[29] He was interviewed in the 2009 BBC television show James May on the Moon. He was interviewed by Maltese television talk show Xarabank, the episode airing December 11, 2009, 2045 CET.

Awards and honors[edit]

Schmitt receives the 2015 Leif Erikson Exploration Award from Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland.

Distinguished Service Medal (1973)[30] He was made an honorary fellow of the Geological Society of America for his efforts in geoscience in 1984.[31] 1989 Recipient of the G. K. Gilbert Award[32] One of the elementary schools in Schmitt's hometown of Silver City, New Mexico
New Mexico
was named in his honor in the mid-1970s. An image of the astronaut riding a rocket through space is displayed on the front of Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
Elementary School.[33] AAPG's Special
Award has been changed to the Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
Award in 2011. It recognizes individuals or organizations that, for a variety of reasons, do not qualify for other Association honors or awards. Schmitt received the award in 1973 for his contribution as the first geologist to land on the moon and study its geology.[34] 2015 Recipient of the Leif Erikson Exploration Award, awarded by The Exploration Museum, for his scientific work on the surface of the Moon in 1972, and for his part in the geology training of all the astronauts that walked on the Moon
before him.[35]

Media[edit] Schmitt is one of the astronauts featured in the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon.[36] He also contributed to the book NASA's Scientist-Astronauts by David Shayler and Colin Burgess. See also[edit]



^ "Apollo 17". NASA. Retrieved 29 June 2016.  ^ "Extravehicular Activity". NASA
history. Retrieved 29 June 2016.  ^ "Naked Science: Living on the Moon". National Geographic Television. August 15, 2010.  ^ a b c "50 Years in Space - Harrison Schmitt". California Institute of Technology. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 16, 2009.  ^ "Learned to walk on the moon in Oslo". Universitas. May 27, 2009. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2009.  ^ "Harrison H. Schmitt". Distinguished Alumni Award. California Institute of Technology Alumni Association. Retrieved 31 May 2011. [permanent dead link] ^ "A Running Start – Apollo 17
Apollo 17
up to Powered Descent Initiation". Apollo Lunar Surface Journal. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2011.  ^ Nancy S. Todd. "Lunar Sample Compendium".  ^ "Rock Suggests Early Moon's Fiery Core Churned a Magnetic Field". The New York Times. 20 January 2009.  ^ "The Astronauts Who Went to the Moon
- The 40th Anniversary of the Moon
Landing - TIME". TIME.com. July 16, 2009.  ^ "Harrison J. Schmitt". engr.wisc.edu. University of Wisconsin—. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved November 20, 2017.  ^ Kulcinski, G. L.; Schmitt, Harrison H. (September 1, 1988). "The moon: an abundant source of clean and safe fusion fuel for the 21st century". Lunar Helium-3
and Fusion Power. p. 35-64.  ^ Return to the Moon: exploration, enterprise, and energy in the human settlement of space, Springer, 2006 ISBN 0-387-24285-6 ^ Schmitt, Harrison H. (1997). "Interlune-Intermars Business Initiative: Returning to Deep Space". Journal of Aerospace Engineering. 10 (2): 60–67. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)0893-1321(1997)10:2(60).  ^ " NASA
- Schmitt Completes NASA
Advisory Council Service; Ford Named Chairman". nasa.gov. NASA. October 2008.  ^ "Former NASA
Advisory Council Chair Jack Schmitt Quits Planetary Society Over New Roadmap", SpaceRef.com, November 17, 2008. ^ http://www.governor.state.nm.us/Press/2011/January/010611_02.pdf[permanent dead link] ^ " Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
withdraws nomination for New Mexico
New Mexico
energy secretary". El Paso Times. February 11, 2011. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012.  ^ Simonich, Milan (February 11, 2011). " Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
withdraws nomination for New Mexico
New Mexico
energy secretary". El Paso Times. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2014.  ^ Schmitt, Harrison H. (2005). Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space. Springer London, Limited. ISBN 978-0-387-31064-0. Retrieved 23 March 2013.  ^ "Parks".  ^ "Former NASA
Advisory Council Chair Jack Schmitt Quits Planetary Society Over New Roadmap". SpaceRef. November 17, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2017.  ^ "Ex-Astronaut: Global Warming Is Bunk", Fox News, Feb 16, 2009 ^ "Is Global Warming Real?". Fox Business.  ^ "Moonstruck: Climate science denier Harrison Schmitt, appointed to head NM environment agency, believes enviros and scientists like Holdren are communists - ThinkProgress". ThinkProgress.  ^ Klein, Naomi (2011-11-09). "Capitalism vs. the Climate". The Nation. Retrieved 2012-08-23.  ^ Harrison H. Schmitt And William Happer
William Happer
(8 May 2013). "Harrison H. Schmitt and William Happer: In Defense of Carbon Dioxide". WSJ.  ^ "From the Earth
to the Moon: Full Cast and Crew". IMDb. Retrieved March 17, 2018.  ^ "Bill Nye the Science Guy". TV Guide. Retrieved March 17, 2018.  ^ " Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
Biography". NASA. Retrieved February 6, 2018.  ^ Geological Society of America: Award & Medal Recipients ^ "Dyar wins 2016 GSA Gilbert Award". NASA. Retrieved March 17, 2018.  ^ " Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
Elementary - Home". Archived from the original on 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-03-28.  ^ "Leadership".  ^ "The Leif Erikson Exploration Awards". Retrieved 2015-11-30.  ^ "In the Shadow of the Moon: Full Cast and Crew". IMDb. Retrieved March 17, 2018. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Harrison H Schmitt.

Biography portal Spaceflight portal

Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
visits University of Malta
in 2009 and Handaq School Spacefacts biography of Harrison Schmitt Appearances on C-SPAN Space Policy Directive-1, in The Federal Register

U.S. Senate

Preceded by Joseph Montoya U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New Mexico 1977–1983 Served alongside: Pete Domenici Succeeded by Jeff Bingaman

v t e

United States Senators from New Mexico

Class 1

Catron Jones Cutting Larrazolo Cutting Chávez Mechem Montoya Schmitt Bingaman Heinrich

Class 2

Fall Bursum Bratton Hatch Anderson Domenici Udall

v t e

The Moon

Physical properties

Internal structure Topography Atmosphere Gravity field

Hill sphere

Magnetic field Sodium tail Moonlight



Orbital elements


Perigee & apogee


Nodal period



New moon Full moon Eclipses

Lunar eclipse

Total penumbral lunar eclipse Tetrad

Solar eclipse Solar eclipses on the Moon Eclipse



Tidal force Tidal locking Tidal acceleration Tidal range

Lunar mansion

Surface & features

Selenography Terminator Hemispheres

Near side Far side


North pole South pole





Peak of eternal light

Valleys Volcanic features

Domes Calderas


List Ray systems Crater of eternal darkness Shackleton crater South Pole–Aitken basin



Rilles Wrinkle ridges Rocks

Lunar basalt 70017

Water Space weathering

Micrometeorite Sputtering

Quakes Transient lunar phenomenon


Observation Libration Lunar theory Origin

Giant-impact hypothesis

Theia Lunar magma ocean



Late Heavy Bombardment

Lunar meteorites KREEP


Lunar laser ranging ALSEP

Lunar sample displays

Apollo 11 Apollo 17



Apollo program

Probes Landing

Conspiracy theories

Colonization Tourism


Lunar calendar Lunisolar calendar Month

Lunar month

Nodal period

Fortnight Sennight Lunar mansion

Phases & names

New Full


Crescent Super & micro Blood Blue Black Dark Wet Tetrad

Related topics


Lunar effect Moon
illusion Pareidolia

Man in the Moon Moon

Craters named after people Memorials on the Moon Moon
in fiction Moon
in mythology

Hjúki and Bil

" Moon
is made of green cheese" Natural satellite Double planet Lilith (hypothetical second moon)

Category Moon
portal Earth
sciences portal Solar System portal

v t e

People who have walked on the Moon

Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
(CDR, Apollo 11) Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin
(LMP, Apollo 11) Pete Conrad
Pete Conrad
(CDR, Apollo 12) Alan Bean
Alan Bean
(LMP, Apollo 12) Alan Shepard
Alan Shepard
(CDR, Apollo 14) Edgar Mitchell
Edgar Mitchell
(LMP, Apollo 14) David Scott
David Scott
(CDR, Apollo 15) James Irwin
James Irwin
(LMP, Apollo 15) John Young (CDR, Apollo 16) Charles Duke
Charles Duke
(LMP, Apollo 16) Eugene Cernan
Eugene Cernan
(CDR, Apollo 17) Harrison Schmitt
Harrison Schmitt
(LMP, Apollo 17)


Apollo program Apollo Lunar Module Lunar Roving Vehicle

v t e

Group 4, "The Scientists", 1965

Group 3 ← NASA
Group 4 → NASA
Astronaut Group 5

Owen K. Garriott Edward G. Gibson Duane E. Graveline Joseph P. Kerwin F. Curtis Michel Harrison H. Schmitt

v t e

Groups NASA

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 List of astronauts by year of selection

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 31002920 LCCN: n85805597 ISNI: 0000 0000 2866 3130 GND: 1119560543 NKC: vut2014830324 US Congress: S000132 SNAC: w6ff6znq