Published: Sun, May 27, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

Alan Bean, astronaut, moonwalker - and artist - dies

Alan Bean, astronaut, moonwalker - and artist - dies

Mr. Bean returned to space in July 1973, when he commanded a three-man flight to the orbiting space-research station Skylab, the forerunner of the International Space Station. On Nov. 19, 1969, Bean became the fourth human to walk on the moon.

Alan Bean, the fourth person ever to walk on the moon, died on Saturday at age 86, NASA announced on behalf of his family.

His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in the statement he died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him. During the then-record-setting 59-day, 24.4 million-mile flight, Bean and his two crewmates generated 18 miles of computer tape during surveys of Earth's resources and 76,000 photographs of the Sun to help scientists better understand its affects on the solar system. And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston. Eventually, Bean and Conrad spent more than 31 hours on the moon's surface, including more than seven hours working outside of the lunar module.

Alan LaVern Bean was born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, but grew up in Fort Worth.

"Alan Bean was the most extraordinary person I ever met", astronaut Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope, said in a statement.

"I would say I had zero philosophical thoughts at that time", Bean told NPR of his time on the moon in 2014.

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Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career. "I've got the Earth and my imagination, and I'm the first to have the moon, too".

With Bean's passing, only four of 12 Apollo moonwalkers are still alive - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt.

Alan Bean spent 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space prior to his retirement in 1981. One of his favorite tricks was to sprinkle a little moondust from his lunar patches onto his canvases as he painted.

"A lot of things I think about come from the right side of my brain", he said in 2007.

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

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