Astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s “State of the Planet” Message Revisited

Imagine being confined to a space the size of a car’s interior in the pitch blackness of outer space for three days. Your spacecraft is the Apollo 14 Command Module “Kitty Hawk,” returning from the moon. In order to maintain thermal balance, the module will rotate 360° every two minutes, as the sun, the moon and stars, 10xs brighter and 10xs more prevalent, come into view repeatedly every 120 seconds. For Edgar Mitchell, NASA Lunar Module Pilot of the Apollo 14 moon mission in 1971 it was mesmerizing, inspiring universal connectiveness, a transcendental shift.

Other astronauts have experienced the Overview Effect, a cognitive shift when viewing the planet from outer space, an awe-inspiring transcendental state, overwhelming, often overpowering emotions sometimes accompanied by an ingenious realization of a surging connectiveness of people, the planet, the universe, all pulled together at its origin, a molecule.

This essay discusses Mitchell’s State of the Planet message as well as his tireless efforts to understand universal connectiveness and including special mention of the reality, or not, of UFOs, as described in his book: From Outer Space to Inner Space (New Page Books, 2022).

Dr. Edgar Mitchell (1930-2016) MIT ’64, US Naval officer, test pilot, aeronautical engineer delivered A Letter Message about the State of the Planet to his colleagues of the Board of Advisors of Visionary Alternatives, insisting on the importance of educating people about the true state of the planet, to wit:

It is imperative that adults and children are made acutely aware of this situation. Only a global grassroots effort can hope to grab the attention of our political, economic and institutional leaders. We, as a planetary society, need to generate the appropriate attention to these critical problems now through our individual economic and political choices before it is too late. Unfortunately, many people are not yet convinced of the need for economic restructuring.


Many of my colleagues and I believe that our global civilization is on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, one that is leading us toward economic decline and eventual collapse… Our global situation is incredibly challenging today because of the adoption of the western economic model (e.g., materialism, consumerism, and throw-away mentality) throughout much of the developed and developing economies of the world.

Mitchell listed critical planetary boundaries under siege: (1) rapid population growth beyond sustainability: 1 billion in 1804, 2 billion in 1927, 3 billion in 1960, 8 billion in 2022; (2) degradation of life-sourcing ecosystems; (3) excessive resource depletion such as shrinking forests; (4) eroding soils; (5) failing freshwater resources; (6) more frequent crop-withering heat waves; (7) collapsing fisheries; (8) expanding desertification; (9) frequency of extraordinary powerful storms; (10) shrinking natural resources; (11) melting glaciers.

Six years following the passing of Edgar Mitchell, the onset of the 2020s has witnessed considerable, in many cases unprecedented, outbreaks of every item on his list, exceeding planetary boundaries but much worse and much sooner than he thought possible. He was convinced that the only solution to collapse of planetary ecosystems would be a “massive global grass roots educational effort” to inform people how to move “our planetary society onto a sustainable path.”

Hopefully, his personal mission to inform the public and offer suggestions for how to move forward will continue by way of his foundation to expose the most threatening situation of the 21st century, which is a nearly out of control climate system that is broadly ignored for its true reality and impact.

Moreover, he called for “the need for economic restructuring.” Mitchell likely recognized the multitude problems with neoliberal capitalism. He implies that neoliberalism should be tossed in favor of a better system, for example, Herman Daly’s Steady-State Economy that recognizes a dependence upon the biosphere for all materials and energy and disposal of waste in harmony within planetary boundaries. Neoliberalism does the opposite by overusing, abusing, ignoring boundaries as if they do not exist. Thus, the planet becomes nothing more than a vehicle for private wealth creation, but for whom?

Still, there are some hopeful signs. One brilliant idea is Elizabeth G. Boulton’s Plan E: “After COP27. What Are The Options? An Introduction to Plan E.”

Elizabeth G. Boulton, PhD, Australian National University and MA/Climate Policy, University of Melbourne is a former army major in the Australian Defence Force, having served in East Timor (1999) and Iraq (2004) and logistics work in Ghana, Nigeria, and Sudan. She was a lead research officer at army headquarters.

Kitty Hawk’s Fiery Return from Outer Space, 1971

In a flashback from a long time ago, 51 years ago on February 5, 1971, Kitty Hawk was hurtling at 17,500 mph, burning through Earth’s atmosphere at up to 2700°F, bringing home astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Alan Shepard from a 9-day roundtrip to the moon. Mitchell had experienced a lifetime-changing event, an epiphany, an inner connection to “the nature of consciousness.” He’d never be the same person.

With a background in astronomy from Harvard and MIT and educational depth in science, he came to the profound realization that molecules in his body and the molecules of his spacecraft and the molecules of his spacecraft partner, Commander Alan Shepard, were prototypes and perhaps manufactured in some ancient generation of stars. This was a visceral experience brought on by overwhelmingly powerful feelings of “bliss” and “ecstasy” like he’d never previously experienced.

“The sensation was altogether foreign. Somehow, I felt tuned into something much larger than myself, something much larger than the planet in the window. Something incomprehensively big.” (From Outer Space To Inner Space, p. 69)

“I saw how my very existence was irrevocably connected with the movement and formation of planets, stars, and galaxies — the ineluctable result of the explosion of an immensely hot and dense dot at the center of the universe billions of years ago. Or, if quasi-steady state theorists are correct, as it now appears they may be — the ineluctable result of continuous matter creation in super clusters of galaxies,” Ibid, p. 81.

Today, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched Christmas Day, December 25, 2021, which orbits the Sun at one million miles away from Earth, dramatically and powerfully expands upon the same continuous matter creation that Mitchell discussed in his book. JWST cruises throughout L2, the second sun-Earth Lagrange point, which allows it to always stay in line with Earth while it orbits the Sun.

In time, Edgar Mitchell came to understand that the “stories” told to us by science of who we are were perhaps wrong, and “stories” told to us by religion about who we are were also perhaps wrong. This led to an awareness of the nature of consciousness as an answer to who we are in our universe, a much broader canvas than taught in science and religion.

As a prologue to recognition of the nature of consciousness, his studies taught that 500 years ago an early adherent was Rene Descartes, who claimed we have body and mind of the physical, but the spiritual belongs to a different realm of reality that doesn’t interact. Thereafter, it wasn’t until the 19th century when Max Planck’s theory established pillars of quantum mechanics that something was found missing from equations of existence in a broad sense.

According to Mitchell’s book, consciousness is what the quantum world is all about. A practical example: Mother and father go out for dinner and leave little Johnny-junior home with the babysitter. Halfway thru dinner, mom jumps up, something’s wrong with Johnny at home. She calls home and is told Johnny fell out of this highchair and bumped his head, screaming bloody murder. Mom knew that because of quantum entanglement. We call this behavior intuition or a sixth sense. It is a fundamental property of nature.

According to Mitchell, 40 years of study taught him that consciousness exists throughout all of nature and matter, and it begins with a quantum property of particles together that subsequently separate from each other but maintain a correlation regardless of where they go. or nonlocality, meaning that it happens faster than the speed of light. Therefore, the speed of light is not a fundamental aspect of consciousness and propagation of consciousness.

According to Mitchell, when describing our universe, rather that mention of matter and energy, which come from Newtonian physics, we must describe the universe as matter, energy, and awareness, adding this fundamental to nature that we did not know and appreciate until the 20th century.

Dr. Mitchell founded Noetics Foundation to investigate consciousness, ongoing for 38 years, eventually coming up with a quantum hologram. “The universe is self-organizing, intelligent, creative, trial and error interactive learning participatory informationally nonlocally interconnected evolving quantum system.” (Source: Edgar D. Mitchells’ Consciousness Presentation, University of Advancing Technologies induction into the Leonardo DaVinci Society for The Society of Thinking, 2011)

We are part of the living intelligent universe and cannot be separated from it. It’s all interconnected with the entire system. We are all matter that comes from the basic energy source we refer to as “zero-point energy field.”

The Quantum World is the most basic information system that we know of, and we live in it. It was here before our solar system developed.

“Energy, we know is the foundation of all matter; information is the foundation of knowing. Both were present at the moment of creation, whether in a big bang, or in a continuous process of creation in galaxies. It is likely that just as energy produced the physical structure that we recognize as waves and particles, in our macro-world, the seeds of consciousness were also present to produce awareness and intentionality,” Ibid, p. 196.

The Afterword of From Outer Space to Inner Space recognizes the Institute of Noetic Sciences, founded by Mitchell, as approaching its fiftieth anniversary, acknowledging Edgar Mitchell’s contribution to “a better understanding of consciousness and its capabilities.” As a result, concepts like the mind-body relationship, the role of spirituality in healing, and the mental and physical benefits of meditation, once considered laughable, have gone mainstream.

Of more than casual interest, the postscript to the book is entitled — It’s Time to End the UFO Coverup. As a boy, Edgar’s family lived in Roswell, NM, the site of the July 1947 UFO incident: “That incident involved the alleged crash of a UFO, possibly two, and their retrieval by the Army Air Force, along with their occupants,” p. 263.

Some years after his Apollo flight, Mitchell went back to Roswell and met old-timers who had been involved in Roswell events in 1947. One person was with the sheriff’s department and went to the crash site to supervise traffic in the area. Another person was an officer at Roswell Air Force Base where the crash debris and dead aliens were taken. For many years, the locals had been silenced by military authorities, but now they told their stories.

Interestingly, one of the locals was Jesse Marcel, Jr. the son of Major Jesse Marcel, an intelligence officer who was one of the first military personnel to the scene. He brought home pieces of the crashed UFO to show family members the remarkable structure of indestructible material, which he claimed, “was not of this Earth.” One item fascinated young Jesse. It was a small beam with purple-hued hieroglyphics inscribed on it. (Source: “Roswell Author Who Said He Handled UFO Crash Debris Dies at 76,” Guardian, August 28, 2013)

Another local that Mitchell talked to was a family member of the local funeral home that provided coffins for the dead at the crash site.

“I have had additional confirmation from very high-ranking members of several governments that UFOs are real, and that ETs have made contact with Earth. I am not at liberty to disclose the names of my informants, but they are from European nations, including the UK. Their sources of knowledge: Their own militaries’ studies of the subject… So, why does the coverup continue?” p. 265

Meanwhile, according to a recent LiveScience article — “US Military Reports ‘several hundred’ UFO Sightings in 2022, Pentagon Officials Claim” — “UFO reports from U.S. military personnel are flooding the government’s new All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO). The U.S government’s brand-new UFO-tracking office has been open for half a year, but business is already booming.”

Of special interest is an article entitled “Wild New Paper Suggests We Could Detect Gravitational Waves From Alien Megacraft.” ScienceAlert highlights a public benefit research institute named Applied Physics that announced a potential breakthrough in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) via the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s ability to detect gravitational waves from accelerating astrophysical sources, possibly detecting an “extra-terrestrial mega-technology” such as a “Rapid And/or Massive Accelerating spacecraft.”

“I am persuaded, utterly, and completely, that we are being visited by extraterrestrials.” (Edgar Mitchell)

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Robert.