Edgar Mitchell: An Astronaut’s Spiritual Experience in Space

20-04-2016 13-56-05

In 1971,  Dr. Edgar Dean Mitchell became the sixth person to walk on the Moon.  While in space he had a spiritual experience that changed his life and made him realise that everything and everyone is interconnected and originate from the same source. The experience lead him to found the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

This type of experience is not unique to Edgar Mitchell.The image of our Earth from space invokes the feeling of oneness and a change on our perspective.  A number of astronauts when witnessing first-hand the cosmos from space, experienced a cognitive and spiritual shift. 

On the way back from the moon, while looking at the Earth and the cosmos from the spacecraft window  he had a moment of  spiritual awakening and enlightenment. Edgar Mitchell came to the realisation that the molecules of his body and the molecules of the spacecraft had been manufactured in an ancient generation of stars. He acquired a deep knowing that we are all connected and an understanding that we humans are consumed by greed and ego and are missing the big picture. This realisation was experienced as a deep knowing; an ecstasy and transformation.

When back on Earth, Edgar Mitchell was curious to find out if his experience in space was documented in scientific bibliography. As he was not able to find anything in science, he turned to spiritual bibliography. When looking into the ancient Indian tradition he found the description of samadhi (savikalpa samadhi) which matched his own spiritual experience in space. The sanskrit word Savikalpa samadhi is a state of samadhi in which one’s consciousness temporarily dissolves into Brahman (the highest state of consciousness).

In an interview (1) Edgar Mitchell was quoted as saying:

“The descriptions of samadhi, savikalpa samadhi, were exactly what I felt: it is described as seeing things in their separateness, but experiencing them viscerally as a unity, as oneness, accompanied by ecstasy”

Inspired by his experience,  in 1973, Dr. Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences to promote scientific research in the areas of consciousness, human potential and spirituality. In this research quantum science has been am important framework to explaining spirituality.


  1. Samadhi in space. An interview with Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, by Sarah E. Truman