American Astronaut Scott Carpenter, 1925 - 2013

The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 10 2013 4:30 PM

Scott Carpenter, 1925 - 2013

Scott Carpenter
Scott Carpenter, American astronaut, inspects his Mercury 7 capsule before launch in 1962.

Photo by NASA

I am very sad to write that American astronaut Scott Carpenter died today. He was 88 years old.

You can read about his accomplishments on Collect Space and wikipedia; I won't belabor his detailed and lengthy record here. He was the fourth American astronaut to fly into space, and only the second to achieve orbit. He was one of a generation of such heroes.


He was also a Boulder, Colorado native. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Carpenter earlier this year at SpaceFest; we chatted about our hometown and found him to be a personable, pleasant man. There's a park here in town named after him, and it has a rocket-shaped jungle gym children can climb in. I hope kids today and in the future will have fun playing on and in it, and that it fires up some inspiration for their imagination as well.

Of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, now only John Glenn is still with us. These men made history, dividing all of humanity's timeline into two separate eras: before we went into space, and after. We can move on and expand on their accomplishments, but we can never replace them. They were the first.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Dear Prudence
Sept. 22 2014 3:33 PM Killing With Kindness My in-laws want to throw me a get-well-from-cancer bash. There’s no way I can go.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.