Pulse.ng logo
Go

Alan Bean Moonwalking astronaut-artist dies at 86

US astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the moon, has died, his family announced in a statement released by NASA. He was 86 years old.

  • Published:
Alan Bean (R), pictured in November 1969 with his fellow US astronauts of Apollo 12, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr. (L), commander, and Richard F. Gordon, command module pilot (C), in front of their Saturn V space vehicle play

Alan Bean (R), pictured in November 1969 with his fellow US astronauts of Apollo 12, Charles "Pete" Conrad, Jr. (L), commander, and Richard F. Gordon, command module pilot (C), in front of their Saturn V space vehicle

(NASA/AFP/File)

US astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the moon, has died, his family announced in a statement released by NASA. He was 86 years old.

The moonwalker who went on to become a painter died Saturday in Houston after suddenly falling ill weeks before, the statement said.

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.

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 US space station Skylab in 1973.

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).

He retired from NASA in 1981 to embark on a third career as an artist, creating Apollo-themed paintings textured with lunar boot prints or using acrylics infused with small bits of his mission patches sprinkled with moon dust.

Fellow astronaut Harrison Schmitt called Bean "one of the great renaissance men of his generation -- engineer, fighter pilot, astronaut and artist."

Alan Bean, pictured in 2007, walked on the moon and later became an artist who created Apollo-themed paintings play

Alan Bean, pictured in 2007, walked on the moon and later became an artist who created Apollo-themed paintings

(Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP/File)

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

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

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."

"Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger."

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.

"Every artist has the Earth or their imaginations to inspire their paintings," he said.

"I've got the Earth and my imagination, and I'm the first to have the moon, too."

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.

Top 3

1 In Italy 'Immense tragedy' as motorway bridge collapsesbullet
2 Elon Musk Techpreneur says in talks with Saudis on taking Tesla privatebullet
3 Mnangagwa President-elect says disputed Zimbabwe election 'behind us'bullet

World