"Astronaut & Moonwalker Alan Bean Dies At 86 " WCCO

Former astronaut Alan Bean became a painter re-creating what it was like to be on the moon using actual moon dust and ground-up remnants of Apollo spacecraft

Alan Bean, the fourth astronaut who walked on the Moon, has died at the age of 86, NASA said in a statement.

They included a re-creation of Armstrong securing an American flag in the lunar dust; Mr. Bean standing with Conrad on the moon, looking toward Earth; Eugene A. Cernan riding in a lunar rover during the Apollo 17 mission, and the Earth rising above the moon.

Bean died Saturday in Houston, Texas, following a short illness, the statement said. He flew twice into space, first as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, in November 1969, and then as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in July 1973.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981.

"Alan Bean once said 'I have the nicest life in the world.' It's a comforting sentiment to recall as we mourn his passing", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a press release.

Bean was 86 years old.

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.

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

In total, Bean logged 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface. Bean is one of only 12 men to have touched the moon's surface.

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Many of Mr. Bean's fellow astronauts were evidently taken aback by his choosing the art world over private business.

For the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11's moon landing, Bean exhibited his paintings of lunar scenes at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

In all, 24 people have flown to the Moon and 12 have set foot on it, according to Nasa. "I mean, can you think of anything better?"

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 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". Kelly added: "Fair winds and following seas, Captain".

"Retired astronaut Clayton Anderson tweeted "#RIP Alan Bean.

Beam is survived by his wife Leslie, sister Paula Stott, and children Amy Sue and son Clay.

Mr Bean said in 1998 that he had wanted to be a pilot "ever since I could remember". He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly'.

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