Alan Bean, astronaut, moonwalker - and artist - dies

Pablo Tucker
May 27, 2018

Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon, has died.

During the two moonwalks Bean helped destroy several surface experiments and installed the first nuclear-powered generator station on the moon to provide the power source.

A statement released by NASA and family members says Bean died Saturday, at the age of 86, in Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, after a short illness that struck him while traveling in Fort Wayne, Indiana, two weeks ago. According to NASA, Bean flew into space twice, first as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12 in November 1969, and then as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station in July 1973.

He retired in 1981, beginning a career as a painter, creating Apollo-themed art.

Alan Bean, astronaut, moonwalker - and artist - dies

"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.

Four years after Apollo 12, Bean commanded the second crew to live and work on board the Skylab orbital workshop. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

Bean and Conrad spent more than 31 hours on the lunar surface, including more than seven hours working outside of the module.

"When you're getting ready to go to the moon, every day's like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one".


Astronaut-artist Alan Bean speaks at the 2009 opening of an exhibit titled "Alan Bean: Painting Apollo, First Artist on Another World" at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

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. "But I've been there and I can tell you it's mostly black dirt".

"A lot of things I think about come from the right side of my brain", he said in 2007. "Fair winds and following seas, Captain", Kelly tweeted.

Fellow astronaut Harrison Schmitt called Bean "one of the great renaissance men of his generation - engineer, fighter pilot, astronaut and artist".


"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's handsome.' 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. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly'.

He leaves his second wife, Leslie, a son, Clay, and a daughter, Amy Sue, from his marriage to his first wife, Sue.


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