Alan Bean, 4th man on the moon, dies aged 86

Alan Bean, 4th man on the moon, dies aged 86

Six years later, he piloted the lunar module on Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, and walked on the moon's surface with fellow astronaut Charles Conrad.

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

"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.

Bean's wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, said in a statement that Bean died peacefully at Houston Methodist Memorial Hospital surrounded by those who loved him.

Born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, Bean was a test pilot in the US Navy when NASA selected him and 13 others in October 1963 for training to become the third group of NASA astronauts, according to the family obituary shared by the space agency.

His second foray outside of Earth's atmosphere saw Bean log a record-breaking 59-day, 24.4 million-mile flight (39.3 million kilometers).

"I'd always wanted to be a pilot, ever since I could remember", Bean said in the 1998 NASA oral history. The fourth person to walk on the Moon, he spent 10-plus hours on the lunar surface during Apollo 12.

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"I wanted to be courageous, even though I wasn't fearless at the time".

FILE PHOTO: Astronaut Alan L. Bean holds a Special Environmental Sample Container filled with lunar soil collected during the Apollo 12 mission in this NASA handout photo provided November 19, 1969.

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

"I said, 'I'm going to be an artist, '" Bean recalled. "His Apollo-themed paintings featured canvases textured with lunar boot prints and were made using acrylics embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches".

"He was a one-of-a-kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter", said Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions. His trips to space prompted his surprise turn of career.

Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career.

Beam is survived by his wife Leslie, sister Paula Stott, and children Amy Sue and son Clay. "Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger".

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