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Astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon, dies at 86

Alan Bean, the fourth man on the moon, died on Saturday at a Houston hospital. He was 86.

(Reuters)

Astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth man on the moon, and later worked to express the wonders of a visit to another world by means of art, died on Saturday. He was 86.

Bean’s death in Houston Methodist Hospital following his sudden illness during the travel in Fort Wayne, Ind., two weeks ago, his family said.

“Alan was the strongest and sweetest man I have ever known. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly,” said Leslie Bean, his wife of 40 years. “A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston, surrounded by those who loved him.”

Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, photographed by Cmdr. Pete Conrad (reflected in the visor) in November 1969.

(NASA)

“We are deeply saddened by the death of astronaut Alan Bean,” NASA said on Twitter. “The fourth person on the Moon, he spent 10+ hours on the lunar surface during the Apollo 12. Bean was spacecraft commander of the Mission, Skylab II & devoted his retirement to painting.”

Born 15 March 1932, Wheeler, Texas, Bean received a bachelor of science in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1955, according to ABC13 in Houston. He went to the Navy Test Pilot School and accumulated more than 5,500 hours flying time in 27 different aircraft types.

We are deeply saddened by the death of astronaut Alan Bean. The fourth person to walk on the Moon, he spent 10+ hours on the lunar surface during the Apollo 12. Bean was spacecraft commander of the Mission, Skylab II & devoted his retirement to painting. Family release: https://t.co/bX8eXNQlSq pic.twitter.com/NJPQULjGlw

— NASA (@NASA) May 26, 2018

Bean and Pete Conrad explored the lunar surface during the second moon landing in November 1969.

“They explored the lunar surface, deployed several lunar surface experiments and installed the first nuclear power generator station on the moon to the power source,” NASA biography says. Richard Gordon, the third member of the mission, remained in orbit with the command module pilot.

Boon was also commander of the Mission, Skylab II of July 29 to Sept. 25, 1973.

In total, Bean logged in 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon, his family said.

Apollo 12 astronauts, left to right, Charles “Pete” Conrad, Richard Gordon and Alan Bean.

(Reuters)

In 1975 he took leave from the Navy. Six years later he retired from NASA to devote himself to painting.

As a painter, he devoted his time to creating an artistic record of mankind is the first exploration of another world, his family said. His Apollo-themed paintings featured paintings textured with lunar boot prints, and are made with acrylic embedded with small pieces of moon dust-stained mission patches.

“Alan Bean is the most special man I ever met,” said astronaut Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. “He was a one of a kind combination of technical performance as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter.”

In addition to his wife, the Bean is survived by his sister, and by two children from a previous marriage.

“I feel blessed every day when I’m working on these paintings,” he once said in describing his passion for his art, according to NPR. “The first artist ever, who go to another world and try to tell a story that people care about.”

 

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