Astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt

Harrison H. Schmitt

Lunar Module Pilot

Harrison Schmitt was born July 3rd, 1935, in New Mexico. He received a bachelor of science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1957 and a doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1964. Schmitt was a teaching fellow at Harvard in 1961 where he assisted in teaching a course in ore deposits. Prior to his teaching assignment, he did geological work for the Norwegian Geological Survey on the west coast of Norway, and for the U.S. Geological Survey in New Mexico and Montana.

Before joining NASA, he was with the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Center. He was project chief for lunar field geological methods and participated in photo and telescopic mapping of the Moon. He was also among USGS astrogeologists instructing NASA astronauts during their geological field trips. He also became backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 15—the first astronaut scientist.

On his first journey into space, Schmitt occupied the lunar module pilot seat for Apollo 17—the last scheduled manned Apollo mission. He was joined by spacecraft commander Eugene Cernan and command module pilot Ronald Evans. While Evans stayed in orbit, Cernan and Schmitt visited the lunar surface where they conducted various experiments and collected rock samples. Schmitt discovered evidence of past volcanic activity in the form of orange soil in which he took samples back to Earth.