Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

Astronaut Alan Bean member of Apollo 12 moon mission dead at 86

Astronaut Alan Bean member of Apollo 12 moon mission dead at 86

Bean spent a total of 31 hours on the moon, performing experiments and collecting soil and rock samples for further study.

In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine described Mr Bean as a "boundary pusher".

With Bean's death, only four moonwalkers are still alive - Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, Charlie Duke and Harrison "Jack" Schmitt.

"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.

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Bean left the Navy in 1975, but did not leave NASA until 1981.

Bean began his aviation career as a fighter pilot for the U.S. Navy before being selected to participate in the test flight program. He flew twice into space, first as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second moon landing mission, in November 1969, and then as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in July 1973.

Bean was born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, and grew up in Fort Worth.

According to NPR, Bean's paintings didn't just look at NASA's manned moon missions with "painstaking detail", as he also used actual moon dust and ground-up Apollo spacecraft debris as materials for his paintings.

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He trained as a Navy test pilot under Conrad, who years later during their astronaut days played a key role in getting Bean designated for the Apollo 11 mission. "[There's] no telling what that costs per minute to be on the moon - millions and millions of dollars - so you wanted to make every one of 'em productive". NPR wrote that Bean was able to look back on NASA's six manned moon landings through the paintings that he completed over a span of more than four decades. "Fair winds and following seas, Captain", Kelly tweeted.

Alan Bean, pictured in 2007, walked on the moon and later became an artist who created Apollo-themed paintings. "Thank you for letting me stand upon your shoulders".

Mr Bean's wife Leslie remembered him as "the strongest and kindest man I ever knew", adding: "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly".

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.

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Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this article.

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