Monday, 18 June, 2018

Alan Bean, Fourth Man to Walk on the Moon, Dies at 86

Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean Fourth US Astronaut to Walk on Moon Has Died – NASA
Cary Marshall | 27 May, 2018, 09:57

Astronaut Alan Bean and Leslie Bean attend the premiere of "In The Shadow Of The Moon" on September 5, 2007 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Bean died on Saturday in Houston, Texas, following a short illness, a Nasa statement said.

Bean was born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas.

"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's handsome.' 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.

His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in the statement he died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him. He had an engineering background and was a test pilot in the Navy, but he took art lessons at night.

He obtained a commission in Navy aviation and after completing test-pilot school was selected by NASA as one of 14 new astronauts in October 1963.

He twice ventured into space, originally in 1969 on the Apollo 12 moon landing mission, and later as commander of the second crew to fly to the first United States space station Skylab in 1973.

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Walt Cunningham, who flew on Apollo 7 and called Bean his best friend of 55 years, said "we are accustomed to losing friends in our business but this is a tough one".

Former US astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth man to walk on the Moon, has died in Texas aged 86, his family has said. During the two moonwalks Bean helped destroy several surface experiments and installed the first nuclear-powered generator station on the moon to provide the power source. He said the 75 pounds of lunar samples they collected were "a scientific gift that keeps on giving today and in the future".

Four years after Apollo 12, Bean commanded the second crew to live and work on board the Skylab orbital workshop.

Bean spent a total of 69 days in space, including 31 hours on the moon.

Bean retired from NASA in 1981 and devoted much of his time to creating an artistic record of space exploration.

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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