Schmitt received his bachelor’s degree from Caltech and studied as a Fulbright Scholar in Oslo, Norway. He earned his Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University in 1964. As a civilian, Schmitt received Air Force jet pilot wings in 1965 and Navy helicopter wings in 1967.
Selected for the scientist-astronaut program in 1965, Schmitt organized the lunar science training for the Apollo astronauts and served as Mission Scientist in support of the Apollo 11 mission. After training as back-up Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 15, Schmitt flew in space 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 men to step on the Moon.
Latest posts by Harrison Schmitt (see all)
- JFK and the Moon: Anatomy of a Historic Decision - November 22, 2013
- In Defense of Carbon Dioxide - July 7, 2013
- Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt on Neil Armstrong - August 30, 2012
(Reactions to recent events by Harrison Schmitt — Heartland Institute Board member, former U.S. Senator (R-N.M.), and the last man (and first scientist) to set foot on the moon. (Cross-posted at America’s Uncommon Sense):
The political struggles surrounding the potential breaching of the current limit on debt that can be incurred by the United States Government, and the underlying unsustainable levels of federal spending and taxation, have distinct similarities to other momentous struggles in our history. These earlier challenges all involved those who fought to establish and/or preserve human liberty against those with ideological opposition to that liberty.
In our Founders’ late 18th and early 19th Century fight for Independence and its preservation, the forces of liberty were opposed by an ideology advocating the divine right of Kings. In the 1860’s Civil War to free the slaves, the forces of liberty were opposed by the ideology that condoned slavery.
In the World Wars of the early and mid 20th Century, the forces of liberty opposed an ideology of social and racial superiority underpinned by Prussian and German National Socialism. In the Cold War that followed World War II, the forces of liberty opposed a communist ideology that would suppress all liberty except that of an elite governing minority. The common theme running through these four struggles was liberty versus tyranny.
In this current fight over the debt limit and federal spending and taxation, a homegrown combination of national socialism and communism has come to the fore, aided and abetted by “crony” capitalists now dependent on federal funding and regulation. That combined assault on Americans would sacrifice constitutional protections of liberty and natural rights as well as the economic future of generations yet to come in order to preserve an elitist minority’s power to govern.
Winning the debt limit and federal spending and taxation reduction battle constitutes one more component of America’s continuing responsibility to preserve human liberty. Unfortunately, the President has indicated that, if the debt limit is not raised, he will not carry out his constitutional responsibility under both his Article II executive and law enforcement duties and his 14th Amendment, Section 4, mandate to use available revenues to service the debts and other essential obligations of the United States. As now noted by some in Congress, this constitutes an impeachable offense, not that this fact bothers the President. This clearly means, however, that Barack Obama should not be re-elected in 2012.
The House of Representatives has the responsibility to repeatedly force the Senate and the President to consider a coupled debt limit extension and spending and tax reductions (Cut, Cap and Balance) even if the President refuses to sign such a bill into law. Under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution, only the Congress is empowered “to pay the Debts…of the United States…” and any move by the President to ignore or extend the debt limit without legislation from Congress would be unconstitutional. In the event that the debt limit is not raised, the House also should force the Senate to repeatedly consider bills requiring payments from existing tax revenues to military personnel and veterans, Border Patrol and Coast Guard personnel, internal and external intelligence services, as well as American citizens currently dependent on Social Security income.
Win or lose in this battle of the debt limit and reductions in federal spending and taxes, we must assume that 2012 will be the final opportunity for the forces of liberty to live up to their responsibility to the future of humankind.