Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut Alan Bean, 4th human to walk on moon, has died, NASA announces

They were busy, but, as Bean recalled during a 2016 NPR interview, "as I ran along, I remember. saying to myself, 'You know, this is really the moon. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", said Leslie Bean, Bean's wife of 40 years, in a statement. "A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him". Celebrities and notable figures who have recently passed awayBean was one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts in October 1963.

In a statement on Bean's passing, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said that the astronaut always pushed the boundaries: "In 1973, Alan commanded the Skylab Mission II and broke a world record with a 59-day flight traversing 24.4 million miles". He and crew mate Pete Conrad explored the moon's surface and conducted experiments while Richard Gordon orbited overhead in the command module, scouting landing sites for future moon missions.

In November 1969, he was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second Apollo mission to successfully land on the moon.

His decision in 1981 to give up his NASA career to become a full-time artist surprised some of his colleagues.

Bean was born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932 and educated at the University of Texas - graduating in 1955.

Retired astronaut Scott Kelly said on Twitter that the world had not only lost "a spaceflight pioneer. but also an exceptional artist that brought his experience back to Earth to share with the world".

The flight of Apollo 12, while thrilling in its own right, was not almost as dramatic as the pioneering mission of Apollo 11, but it resulted in a more extensive exploration of the moon.

Bean spent 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface. The paintings sometimes included footprints from a molding of the boots he wore on the moon along with pieces of his spacesuit patches and a sprinkling of their moondust residue.

Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon, has died.

A decade later, Bean told me that his brain must have been wired differently from the norm for astronauts.

"I just say it how I think it, even though other people will say, 'That's weird, ' because it's from the other side of the brain", he said.

In addition to his wife, Leslie, Alan Bean is survived by a sister, Paula Stott; and two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue Bean and Clay Bean.

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