Shop Windows to the Universe

Check out the fun Earth science related bumper stickers in our online store! Express yourself!
Pete Conrad on the Moon during the Apollo 12 mission.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

Charles 'Pete' Conrad Passes Away
News story originally written on July 12, 1999

Another member of the elite twelve that landed on the Moon has passed away. Charles 'Pete' Conrad Jr. died on July 8, 1999, at a hospital in California due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Conrad was 69 years old.

Conrad was undoubtedly most famous for his quote used when first landing on the Moon during Apollo 12. During Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong proclaimed, "that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." While taking his first steps, Conrad exclaimed, "Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me."

During the Apollo 12 mission which he commanded, Conrad spent several hours on the Moon's surface. He and fellow astronaut Alan Bean collected lunar rocks and also obtained valuable information from Surveyor 3, which had been on the lunar surface for 2 years. It was on that day, Nov.19, 1969, that Conrad became the third person to ever step onto the Moon. Other highlights of his life include the lightning strike that almost ended the Apollo 12 mission and his trip to Skylab. Conrad and his crew were the first to ever make contact with the station in space.

"Like all these guys he took a great satisfaction from overcoming adversity and demonstrating his skill. The main thing about Pete Conrad was there didn't seem to be anything he wasn't good at as an astronaut," said Andrew Chaikin, whose book, A Man on the Moon, tells the story of America's push into space.

Pete Conrad was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1930. He earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Princeton University in 1953 and entered the Navy. He was chosen as an astronaut while serving as a test pilot at the Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Maryland. From there, Conrad joined the Gemini program, aimed at pushing the United States ahead of the Soviet Union in the race to the Moon. His last shuttle mission was to repair damages sustained by Skylab during its launch into space. Conrad claims this to be his most difficult mission, but also his greatest success.

"His whole life was devoted to pioneering," said another former astronaut, Ed Mitchell. "He was a pioneer in the aviation world, a pioneer and an explorer in the space world. That's how he'd want to be remembered, I'm sure."

Conrad is survived by his wife, Nancy, three sons, and seven grandchildren.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Surveyor

The Surveyor missions of 1966 through 1968 were the next step in space travel to the Moon, following the Ranger missions. Their goal was to perform "soft" landings on the lunar surface, meaning that the...more

Apollo 12

Apollo 12 survived a lightning strike during its launch on Nov. 14, 1969, and arrived at the Moon three days later. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean descended to the surface, while Richard Gordon...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF