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NASA Space

Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter Dies At 88 81

Posted by timothy
from the above-below-and-beyond dept.
schwit1 writes "M. Scott Carpenter, whose flight into space in 1962 as the second American to orbit the Earth was marred by technical glitches and ended with the nation waiting anxiously to see if he had survived a landing far from the target site, died on Thursday in Denver. He was 88 and one of the last two surviving astronauts of America's original space program, Project Mercury." NASA has a nice biography of Carpenter, too, and scottcarpenter.com has much more besides.
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Mercury Astronaut Scott Carpenter Dies At 88

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    • by kLimePie (3031053)
      This is noted in the official NASA biography [nasa.gov]:

      Scott Carpenter, a dynamic pioneer of modern exploration, has the unique distinction of being the first human ever to penetrate both inner and outer space, thereby acquiring the dual title, Astronaut/Aquanaut.

      Before I did a quick Wiki lookup on the word aquanaut [wikipedia.org], I thought he was the first astronaut who knew how to swim. Apparently you need to dive deeper and longer to qualify for the distinction of being an aquanaut, just as you need to fly up a certain number

  • by omnichad (1198475) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @04:23PM (#45096303) Homepage

    The run-on sentence in the summary makes it hard not to read it like he's been missing since 1962 and just now found.

    • It is not a run-on sentence, merely a complex one.
  • Glenn is still alive. Who's the other one?

    • by Antipater (2053064) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @04:37PM (#45096401)
      Nobody. The summary is wrong; Glenn is the last.
    • by Animats (122034)

      Misread the article. It's just Glenn now, the last of the Original Seven human astronauts.

      • Misread the article. It's just Glenn now, the last of the Original Seven American astronauts.

        FTFY

        • It's just Glenn now, the last of the Original Seven American astronauts.

          "American" is redundant. "Astronaut" implies American. The other men in space in the sixties were "Cosmonauts."

          • The other men in space in the sixties were "Cosmonauts."

            Perhaps, but were they friends?

          • It's just Glenn now, the last of the Original Seven American astronauts.

            "American" is redundant. "Astronaut" implies American. The other men in space in the sixties were "Cosmonauts."

            "Human" is also redundant. I don't recall the monkey being referred to as an astronaut either.

          • The other men in space in the sixties were "Cosmonauts."

            oops...That should have read The other men AND WOMAN in space in the sixties were "Cosmonauts."

          • "Astronaut" implies American.

            No, it implies (and probably not exclusively) that they come from an English-speaking nation. There are Canadian astronauts and British astronauts.

            • No, it implies (and probably not exclusively) that they come from an English-speaking nation. There are Canadian astronauts and British astronauts.

              In the sixties (context of this thread and article) there were no English-speaking space explorers who weren't American. So "Astronaut" remains correct.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Misread the article. It's just Glenn now, the last of the Original Seven American astronauts.

          FTFY

          Soviet spacemen were known as "confidants" rather than "astronauts".

  • A sad day (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 10, 2013 @04:33PM (#45096369)
    Your famous landing on Mercury will never be forgotten, Mr. Carpenter.
  • God speed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dlt074 (548126) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @04:39PM (#45096417)

    God speed Sir. Thank you for your service.

  • And now there is only one left. Growing up in the early 60's, every kid wanted to be an astronaut. I just wish I still have my GI-Joe Friendship 7 space capsule, box & record...they are worth a bunch now LOL. God speed Scott Carpenter!
  • When We Left Earth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DCstewieG (824956) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @05:00PM (#45096619)

    If you have Netflix streaming (or want to go through some hassle), check out When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions [netflix.com]. Absolutely fantastic documentary on the space race and the way I recently learned about his landing. For reasons outside my control, I was not alive until many years later.

    I totally get the conspiracy theories about a fake moon landing. I know we did it. But looking up at the moon, it's hard to believe it.

    • It's hard to believe that men went to the moon because they don't go anymore. It's hard to believe that such knowledge, such infrastructure, such willingness to fund science, existed just a few decades ago and is now gone.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Oh man, that's naive. Funding science had nothing to do with going to the moon. It had everything to do with beating those darn commie Russkies. I can guarantee you, without the Cold War, we'd still be wondering when some one would ever go to the moon.

        • Funding science had nothing to do with going to the moon. It had everything to do with beating those darn commie Russkies.

          Sure there was some of that, but there was also very much a 'we can do anything attitude' back then that seems to be mostly gone, other than in niches like iPad development. China is surging ahead of the USA and there isn't any national drive to beat them at anything...

      • by CRCulver (715279)
        Besides the other poster's point about the Space Race being more about beating the Russkies than love of science, retreating from human spaceflight is a prudent decision anyway. Let's focus on research here on Earth to boost computing power and innovate new materials. Then, after the Singularity, we can send our machine descendents to explore the cosmos instead of human beings that require a whole biosphere to be sent with them.
        • by mschuyler (197441)

          Sure we could, but if you use that attitude about everything, nothing would ever get done unless it passed some bureaucrat's idea of "practical and prudent."

          Besides, that's just a fucking boring attitude.

        • by khallow (566160)

          Then, after the Singularity, we can send our machine descendents to explore the cosmos instead of human beings that require a whole biosphere to be sent with them.

          Assuming we're still around to act in any sort of capacity.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      It's hard to believe they could have faked it. Other countries were monitoring the radio communications from the CM and LMs, and would have said something if they didn't appear to be coming from the moon. The USSR in particular had no reason to cover up for the Americans.

      Say they sent unmanned missions instead then. We know they got to the surface because the intact remains can be seen on photos taken by other countries who, again, have no reason to lie. Even so, deploying certain experiments like the retro

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday October 10, 2013 @06:38PM (#45097341) Homepage Journal

    Basically, this guy flew into space in something the size of a VW Beetle.

    Think about that.

    No guts.

    No glory.

    He had both.

    • And with less computational power than the digital display on an FM radio in a Beetle.

      Think about that.

    • There's nothing particularly remarkable about flying into space in a small capsule.

      What's impressive is that he did it while that capsule was strapped to the top of a not-especially-reliable missile.
      • by khallow (566160)

        What's impressive is that he did it while that capsule was strapped to the top of a not-especially-reliable missile.

        Ok, why is that more remarkable than flying into space? It just means a greater tolerance for risk. Base jumpers and people who climb Mount Everest have that too.

    • by root_42 (103434)

      Is it really the size of a VW beetle? At Kennedy Space Center they have a mockup, which I think is accurately sized. Including a seat, in which you can sit. I didn't fit, because, I was too tall -- at 1.80m! That thing was tiny. Really tiny!

  • It is a sad reminder to me how sands of time remain in my own hour glass. I am entering the stage where it seems everyone I looked up to or work/arts I enjoyed has passed.
  • I always hope I bought a bolt on the international space station.....but I'm afraid I paid a millionaire agribusiness not to grow food. Sometimes, in and amongst all the nonsense, waste and cynicism, something good happens. Thank you Scott, for showing us what CAN happen.
  • Spam in a can! I had to make that joke. This guy was a serious legend for me - it was one of those names I memorized as a space geeky ten year old in the early seventies. Vale sir.

You can't take damsel here now.

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