An Apollo astronaut had a spiritual transformation in space. What does NASA think of that?

Edgar Mitchell had a profound spiritual epiphany on his way back to Earth from the moon. He devoted the rest of his life to studying the nature of consciousness. So what happened to him out there?
Edgar Mitchell with the Apollo 14 emblem in November 1970. (NASA/Keystone/Getty Images)

Edgar Mitchell was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 14 mission that went to the moon in 1971. He learned to fly as a teenager, had a doctorate in aeronautics, and became a Navy test pilot before joining the space program. 

But during his return flight to Earth, Mitchell experienced what is perhaps best described as an intense spiritual epiphany. So what exactly happened to him out there? 

Tapestry spoke to Ellen Mahoney, who co-authored Mitchell's memoir, to learn more about how flying to the moon changed Edgar Mitchell's life. 

And psychologist Gloria Leon, who has worked with NASA since the 1990s, offered her insights on what NASA might think when its astronauts come back to Earth talking about spiritual transformation. 

To hear Ellen Mahoney tell the story of Edgar Mitchell, click Listen. And to read more about the inner experience of outer space, go to our digital feature page