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

Alan Bean the 4th person to walk on the moon dies at 86

Alan Bean the 4th person to walk on the moon dies at 86

Bean spent 31 hours on the moon, collecting samples and deploying several experiments with mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr.

Bean died at the Houston Methodist Hospital after becoming sick two weeks ago, according to a statement from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called Bean a boundary pusher who sought to advance limits of technology, science and imagination. "We will remember him fondly as the great explorer who reached out to embrace the universe".

"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's attractive.' 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. On that mission, he orbited the Earth for 59 days and traveled 24.4 million miles, setting a world record at the time.

Born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas the future moonwalker earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

He was among the elite group NASA chose for its third group of astronauts in 1963, having served as a test pilot in the US Navy.

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

After Apollo, Bean commanded the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in 1973. "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", said his wife, Leslie, in NASA's statement.

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

After retiring from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, respectively, Bean became an artist and focused his energy on painting artistic impressions of the moon landing.

He said he thought about it often, "and when I look at the moon at night, [I] think about that pin up there, just as shiny as it ever was, and someday maybe somebody will go pick it up". And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston.

In the four decades before he died, he spent his time making Apollo-themed paintings featured canvases textured with lunar boot prints, made using acrylics embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.

In addition to his wife, Leslie, Alan Bean is survived by a sister, Paula Stott; and two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue Bean and Clay Bean.

"You know, people romanticize the moon", Mr. Bean wrote in his book.

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