Alan Bean, 4th man on the moon, dies aged 86


Bean, who passed away at Houston Methodist after battling a short illness, was a lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 in 1969, the second manned flight to land on the moon.

During the Apollo 12 mission, Bean walked on the moon alongside Charles "Pete" Conrad, who died in July 1999 at age 69.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and from NASA six years later. "I'd say 60 percent of them thought maybe I was having a midlife crisis", Mr. Bean recalled in his book "Apollo" (1998), written with Andrew Chaikin, in which he reproduced many of his paintings.

In the four decades before he died, he spent his time making Apollo-themed paintings featured canvases textured with lunar boot prints, made using acrylics embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.

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Bean was born in 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

They spent about 7 hours and 45 minutes completing two moonwalks in which they deployed instruments to study the moon's geology, installed a nuclear generator to power future experimental equipment and collected an extensive assortment of moon rocks. Bean is one of only 12 men to have touched the moon's surface.

Schmitt, the lunar module pilot for Apollo 17, was one of many astronauts who mourned Bean's death and paid tribute Saturday to his accomplishments that blazed trails for future space exploration. He was one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts in October 1963. "I mean, can you think of anything better?"

Fellow astronaut Harrison Schmitt called Bean "one of the great renaissance men of his generation - engineer, fighter pilot, astronaut and artist".

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He said: "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting. He said he hoped to capture those experiences through his art". "Fair winds and following seas, Captain", Kelly tweeted.

"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's attractive.' Then I said to myself, 'Quit screwing off and go collect rocks.' We figured reflection wasn't productive", Alan Bean was quoted as saying by People magazine in 1981. "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", said Leslie Bean, the moonwalker's wife of 40 years, said in a statement.

"Alan Bean once said 'I have the nicest life in the world, ' " Bridenstine said in a statement.

He leaves his second wife, Leslie, a son, Clay, and a daughter, Amy Sue, from his marriage to his first wife, Sue.

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