Harrison Schmitt


Harrison Schmitt : biography

1935-07-3 –

Post-NASA career

In August 1975, Schmitt resigned from NASA to seek election as a Republican to the United States Senate representing New Mexico. 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, but due to a deep recession and concerns that he wasn’t paying attention to local matters, he was defeated in a re-election bid by the state Attorney General Jeff Bingaman by a 54% to 46% margin. Bingaman’s campaign slogan asked, "What on Earth has he done for you lately?" Following his Senate term, Schmitt has been a consultant in business, geology, space, and public policy.

During his term in the Senate, Schmitt sat at the chamber’s candy desk.

Schmitt is an adjunct professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and has long been a proponent of lunar resource utilization."The moon: an abundant source of clean and safe fusion fuel for the 21st century" http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1988lhfp.rept…35K, in NASA, Lewis Research Center, Lunar Helium-3 and Fusion Power pp. 35–64 (SEE N89-14842 06-75)Return to the Moon: exploration, enterprise, and energy in the human settlement of space, Springer, 2006 ISBN 0-387-24285-6 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.

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. In November 2008, he quit the 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., SpaceRef.com, Nov 17, 2008.

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,http://www.governor.state.nm.us/Press/2011/January/010611_02.pdf but was forced to give up the appointment the following month after refusing to submit to a required background investigation., El Paso Times, Feb 11, 2011

Schmitt wrote a book entitled "Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise, and Energy in the Human Settlement of Space" in 2006.

He lives in Silver City, New Mexico, and spends some of his summer at his northern Minnesota lake cabin.

Senator Schmitt is also involved in several civic projects, including the improvement of the Senator Harrison H. Schmitt Big Sky Hang Glider Park in Albuquerque, NM. http://www.bernco.gov/Parks/

In popular culture

  • Schmitt was portrayed by Tom Amandes in the 1998 miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • He was referred to in an episode ("Maid in Arlen") of the cartoon TV show King of the Hill.