Sci-tech

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

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

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

After retiring from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, respectively, Bean became an artist and focused his energy on painting artistic impressions of the moon landing.

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". "A native Texans, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him".

Working at his home in Houston, Bean created paintings that focused on the Apollo missions, with images of himself and other astronauts on the moon rendered with the authenticity in lighting and color that only an eyewitness could provide. He spent a total of 69 days in space, including 31 hours on the moon.

Mr Bean said in 1998 that he had wanted to be a pilot "ever since I could remember".

Bean was the fourth person to walk on the moon and spent over 10 hours on the lunar surface during Apollo 12. Four years later, Bean also served as commander of NASA's second crewed mission to the Skylab station, where he and two other crew members orbited Earth for a then-record breaking 59 days.

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"We're saddened by the passing of astronaut Alan Bean".

"I wanted to be courageous, even though I wasn't fearless at the time".

A decade later, Bean told me that his brain must have been wired differently from the norm for astronauts. "His Apollo-themed paintings featured canvases textured with lunar boot prints and were made using acrylics embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches".

He said he thought about it often, "and when I look at the moon at night, [I] think about that pin up there, just as shiny as it ever was, and someday maybe somebody will go pick it up".

In 1994 Bean told The New York Times the otherworldly perspectives he got in space inspired him to devote the latter half of his life to art, to the surprise of many of his colleagues. He had an engineering background and was a test pilot in the Navy, but he took art lessons at night.

In addition to his wife Leslie, Alan is survived by his sister Paula Stott and two children from a prior marriage, daughter Amy Sue and son Clay. I am so grateful he was my mentor and friend, and I will miss him terribly.


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