Famed Astronaut Alan Bean Dies at 86

Famed Astronaut Alan Bean Dies at 86

Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, who walked on the moon and then built a career out of painting it, has died aged 86.

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, 86, died on Saturday at Houston Methodist Hospital after he suddenly fell ill while traveling to Fort Wayne, Indiana two weeks before.

Bean became an accomplished artist after his retirement in 1981, painting scene from his space explorations.

He trained as a Navy test pilot under Conrad, who years later during their astronaut time played a crucial role in getting Bean designated for the Apollo mission.

Born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas the future moonwalker earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

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

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

Alan Bean on the moon
Bean there done that. NASA

Alan Bean, pictured in 2007, walked on the moon and later became an artist who created Apollo-themed paintings.

They also reached Surveyor 3, an unmanned lunar probe that had flown to the moon 31 months earlier, and cut away pieces of it so NASA could examine the moon's impact on its materials.

"Alan Bean was the most extraordinary person I ever met", said astronaut Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. "I mean, can you think of anything better?"

"I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting". Mr. Bean and Conrad made a pinpoint landing on terrain called the Ocean of Storms, having descended in their lunar module from the capsule being flown in orbit by a third astronaut, Richard Gordon. Kelly added: "Fair winds and following seas, Captain". "Thank you for letting me stand upon your shoulders". His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in the statement that, "Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew".

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

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.

Bean is survived by his wife Leslie; two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue and Clay; and sister Paula Scott.

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