Apollo Moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86 after illness

Astronaut Alan Bean member of Apollo 12 moon mission dead at 86

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

Bean was the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 12 mission, landing the module in the moon's Ocean of Storms.

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

His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in the statement he died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him. Other times, he wanted to discuss items in the description he was writing to go with a painting.

He said, "I feel blessed every day when I'm working on these paintings. the first artist to ever go to another world and try to tell stories that people care about". He attended the Navy Test Pilot School and accumulated more than 5,500 hours of flying time in 27 different types of aircraft. After leaving NASA, the former astronaut devoted himself to painting.

Back in 1998, Mr Bean described his preparation for the moon landing as "Christmas and your birthday rolled into one", adding: "I mean, can you think of anything better?"

He was a Navy test pilot first and later joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1963.

"Alan Bean is one of the great renaissance men of his generation - engineer, fighter pilot, astronaut and artist".

He became the fourth human to walk on the moon during the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, exploring Oceanus Procellarum alongside the late astronaut Pete Conrad. "My boss asked if I could make a living off art, and I said I didn't know, but I had to find out".

Bean was born on March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas.

According to NPR, Bean's paintings didn't just look at NASA's manned moon missions with "painstaking detail", as he also used actual moon dust and ground-up Apollo spacecraft debris as materials for his paintings.

With his passing, only four of the twelve men who have walked on the moon are still alive - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison Schmitt. "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter".

Many fellow space explorers posted tributes to Bean on Twitter.

In the late 1970s, Bean became chief of the astronaut training programme, preparing for the first shuttle mission, which was launched in 1981, The Washington Post reported. "He said he hoped to capture those experiences through his art".

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.

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