Memorial held for Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

Posted at 8:29 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 11:17:08-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- From rural Texas to outer space, tonight there’s a memorial for Astronaut Edgar Mitchell. It’s underway at Dreher Park in West Palm Beach.

Hundreds turned out to celebrate the life of one of only 12 men to walk on the moon.

Touching down 238,000 miles from home, NASA video shows Edgar Mitchell landing a lunar module on the moon on February 5, 1971.

“It was hard even though gravity is a lot less of a hindrance there,” explained Mitchell’s friend, Leu Crampton, who’s also the CEO and President of the South Florida Science and Aquarium Museum.

That’s what Mitchell shared with Crampton about the Apollo 14 mission.

“By and large, at the end of the day, Edgar was very satisfied with the work that he and the crew had done,” explained Crampton.

Crew member Alan Shepard is famous for hitting a golf ball on the moon. Mitchell for throwing a makeshift javelin.

“He told me the javelin actually went farther than the golf ball hit by Alan Shepard on the moon,” said Crampton. “That will remain an unsolved mystery.”

One thing’s for sure, NASA says the mission provided more than a hundred rock and soil samples for scientific study. Like the moon rock displayed in the South Florida Science Museum and Aquarium.

“He believed in educating young people and the importance of science,” said Crampton.

We asked some King’s Academy sixth graders touring the museum for their thoughts on Mitchell’s moonwalk.

“I don't know how i'd do that, he must have been very brave,” said 12-year-old Nicolas Gonzalez.

His classmate, Ella Wilkerson, also 12-years-old, added, “That must have been really cool because i know i would be scared.”

Mitchell came from humble beginnings in East Texas and New Mexico and went on to receive one of the first physics degrees from MIT. We used photos of Mitchell courtesy of NASA.

He passed away on February 4, 2016 just one day before the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing. He was 85.

“We've lost a great America hero,” added Crampton. “We won't see someone like him ever again.”