After his Apollo 14 mission in 1971, he founded the California-based Institute of Noetic Sciences. On its website announcing Mitchell's death, it states:
"...this experience (in space) radically altered his worldview: Despite science's superb technological achievements, Mitchell realized that we had barely begun to probe the deepest mystery of the universe—the fact of consciousness itself. He became convinced that the uncharted territory of the human mind was the next frontier to explore, and that it contained possibilities we had hardly begun to imagine. Within two years of his expedition, Edgar Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973."
Current President of IONS, Cassandra Vieten wrote this in her in memoriam of Edgar Mitchell:
"When he returned from space forty-five years ago, Apollo 14 Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell committed his life to supporting a sustainable future. He worked tirelessly to understand and promote what he viewed as an absolutely necessary collective shift in consciousness. To those of us who knew him well, Edgar was an enthusiastic, loving, dedicated, courageous, generous, and brilliant man who inspired us to be bold in our exploration of the further reaches of human potential, to fearlessly challenge inadequate paradigms, and to carry his spirit of adventure into investigating our inner lives.......
.....As Mitchell gazed at Earth floating in the vastness of space and contemplated the history and hopes of humankind on that lonely blue sphere, he was engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness.
“I realized that the story of ourselves as told by science—our cosmology, our religion— was incomplete and likely flawed. I recognized that the Newtonian idea of separate, independent, discreet things in the universe wasn’t a fully accurate description. What was needed was a new story of who we are and what we are capable of becoming.”
..................Edgar was troubled by the prevalence of a dualistic worldview in Western thought and science that separates mind and matter and that typically posits matter as the fundamental basis of reality. Fortunately, the advent of quantum physics provided scientific evidence that challenged this dualistic worldview. Experiments at the subatomic level revealed that (under certain conditions) one particle of matter will instantly “respond” when something happens to another particle, even though the two are separated from each other in space. Edgar interpreted that phenomenon as meaning that “awareness” might be present at an elemental subatomic level........
......Inspired by Edgar’s vision, over the past four decades, the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) has had a catalytic influence on the frontiers of scientific inquiry. Our investigation into the role of consciousness in healing has significantly contributed to the scientific understanding of how the mind influences health. Our work helped to transform mind-body medicine from a fringe idea into a vital component of virtually all major medical centers in the United States and, increasingly, worldwide. Our original research on the benefits of meditation and compassion sparked the development of new scientific methods and insights into how we can cultivate our highest potentials. Our pioneering scientific work on interconnectedness through time and space has challenged traditional notions of the nature of reality and is now making its way into mainstream physics. Our frontier research into perennial mysteries, including precognition, life after death, the role of intention in healing, and transformative experiences, continues to broaden the range of acceptable topics for scientific inquiry. IONS continues to expand the boundaries of our understanding of ourselves and of reality.
..............We honor the life and work of Edgar Mitchell, astronaut, scientist, scholar, and visionary leader, and are proud to carry on his legacy. If you would like to make a gift to carry on Edgar's legacy, please consider the Founder's Fund."
Edgar Mitchell served over forty years on the board of IONS, and he will be remembered through the work of IONS and the books he authored: The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical World and Psychic Exploration: A Challenge for Science, Understanding the Nature and Power of Consciousness (a Cosimo publication.)