Thursday, 20 September, 2018

NASA Astronaut Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut Alan L. Bean holds a Special Environmental Sample Container filled with lunar soil collected during the Apollo 12 mission in this NASA handout NASA Astronaut Alan Bean dies at 86
Theresa Hayes | 27 May, 2018, 09:56

Bean was born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas. "But I want it to be the most attractive black dirt that's ever been painted in the history of art". "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", said Leslie Bean, Alan Bean's wife of 40 years.

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

He became the fourth human to walk on the moon during the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, exploring Oceanus Procellarum alongside the late astronaut Pete Conrad.

Walt Cunningham, who flew on Apollo 7 and called Bean his best friend of 55 years, said "we are accustomed to losing friends in our business but this is a tough one".

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

Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon and one of only 12 to have set foot there, died at 86 on Saturday, according to a statement on NASA's website.

Retired Astronaut Alan Bean 66 poses for a portrait in his spacesuit at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas U.S
Image Alan Bean was the fourth man to walk on the moon

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

Mr. Bean later commanded the second of three flights to the Skylab orbiting laboratory, working with Jack R. Lousma of the Marine Corps and Owen K. Garriott, a scientist-astronaut, on a mission that studied Earth's makeup and the sun's atmosphere.

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).

Bean spent 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface.

When Mr. Bean, a former Navy test pilot, left NASA in 1981, he drew on a long-standing interest in painting to become a full-time artist, creating images of the era when science fiction morphed into reality. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust.

"But what was truly extraordinary was his deep caring for others and his willingness to inspire and teach by sharing his personal journey so openly".