Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

29 May, 2018, 16:31 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Astronaut Alan Bean member of Apollo 12 moon mission dead at 86

During the Apollo 12 mission, Bean walked on the moon alongside Charles "Pete" Conrad, who died in July 1999 at age 69.

"As all great explorers are, Alan was a boundary pusher", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement that credited Bean with being part of 11 world records in the areas of space and aeronautics. "[There's] no telling what that costs per minute to be on the moon - millions and millions of dollars - so you wanted to make every one of 'em productive". According to Bean's official NASA biography, Mission II "accomplished 150 percent of its pre-mission forecast goals".

Born in Texas in 1932, Bean graduated the University of Texas with a degree in aeronautical engineering in 1955 and went on to the Navy Test Pilot School.

"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.

"I said, 'I'm going to be an artist, '" Bean recalled.

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"It looked like fearless people did that".

"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People.

Bean's second mission in 1973 was to America's first space station, Skylab.

But in 1981, he gave up his NASA career to become a full-time artist.

In the aftermath of Alan Bean's death, only four of the NASA astronauts who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972 are still living - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke, and Jack Schmitt.

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Alan Bean (R), pictured in November 1969 with his fellow United States astronauts of Apollo 12, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr.

"Alan Bean was the most extraordinary person I ever met", astronaut Mike Massimino told NASA. "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter". Some of his pieces even integrated moon dust, lunar boot prints and his mission patches.

Alan Bean's "Reaching for the Stars" graces the wall of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

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

Over the course of that third career, Bean created more than 100 paintings that he said marked "the beginning of a new category in the progression of art history: art of human experiences off our home planet".

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