Alan Bean, moon-walking astronaut and artist, dies aged 86


He twice ventured into space, originally in 1969 on the Apollo 12 moon landing mission, and later as commander of the second crew to fly to the first U.S. space station Skylab in 1973. He attended the Navy Test Pilot School and was one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts in October 1963.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and from NASA six years later.

"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew". "A native Texans, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him". Bean and Conrad spent more than 31 hours on the lunar surface, including more than seven hours working outside of the module. That "fantastic suite of lunar samples" is "a scientific gift that keeps on giving today and in the future", Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 lunar module pilot and the only geologist to walk on the moon, said in the statement.

"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People. "I'd say 60 percent of them thought maybe I was having a midlife crisis", Mr. Bean recalled in his book "Apollo" (1998), written with Andrew Chaikin, in which he reproduced many of his paintings. Four years later, Bean also served as commander of NASA's second crewed mission to the Skylab station, where he and two other crew members orbited Earth for a then-record breaking 59 days.

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"As all great explorers are, Alan was a boundary pusher", said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement that credited Bean with being part of 11 world records in the areas of space and aeronautics. "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".

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

Mr. Bean developed his interest in painting while taking art courses early in his Navy career. I am so grateful he was my mentor and friend, and I will miss him terribly. "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting".

In 1994 Bean told The New York Times the otherworldly perspectives he got in space inspired him to devote the latter half of his life to art, to the surprise of many of his colleagues.