Alan Bean, 4th man on moon, is dead at 86

Alan Bean, 4th man on moon, is dead at 86

In 1973, Bean commanded the Skylab 3 mission, the second manned mission to the first U.S. space station.

"As all great explorers are, Alan was a boundary pusher", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement that credited Bean with being part of 11 world records in the areas of space and aeronautics. I am so grateful he was my mentor and friend, and I will miss him terribly. "It's a comforting sentiment to recall as we mourn his passing".

According to NASA, Bean was commissioned as a U.S. Navy pilot in 1955, and he joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1963.

Walt Cunningham, fellow astronaut who flew on Apollo 7, said the two have remained friends for 55 years.

He spent 31 hours on the planet and collected 34kg of rocks and lunar soil to be studied back on Earth.

"Their description of bright green concentrations of olivine (peridot) as 'ginger ale bottle glass, ' however, gave geologists in Mission Control all a big laugh, as we knew exactly what they had discovered", Schmitt said.

Bean retired from NASA in 1981 and devoted much of his time to creating an artistic record of space exploration.

"I have the honor and responsibility of being first", he said.

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Working from his home in Houston, Mr. Bean strove for accuracy in presenting the astronauts' gear and the prevailing light, but his paintings often conveyed a sense of what it was like to work on the moon rather than replicating an exact moment. "It will be something really special for people to enjoy and remember". He had an engineering background and was a test pilot in the Navy, but he took art lessons at night. The painting bears the imprint of a spacesuit boot. "The other half, the ones that were more right-brain, thought it was a pretty good idea".

"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People. "I've got the Earth and my imagination, and I'm the first to have the moon, too".

Four years after Apollo 12, Bean commanded the second crew to live and work on board the Skylab orbital workshop.

"A lot of things I think about come from the right side of my brain", he said in 2007.

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.

Bean is survived by his wife, sister and two children from a prior marriage.

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