Apollo Moonwalker and artist Alan Bean dies at 86

Apollo Moonwalker and artist Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth person to walk on the moon and last surviving member of the Apollo 12 mission, has died.

Bean died at the Houston Methodist Hospital after becoming sick two weeks ago, according to a statement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Bean was the lunar module pilot for the second moon landing mission in November 1969.

He then commanded the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in 1973. 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.

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

His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in a statement that Bean died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him.

Astronaut Alan Bean and Leslie Bean attend the premiere of "In The Shadow Of The Moon" on September 5, 2007 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Alan Bean

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

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

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".

Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career. In 1963, he was selected to join NASA's third group of astronauts.

With Bean's death, only four moonwalkers are still alive - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison "Jack" Schmitt.

"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. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust. "And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston", Cunningham said.

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