Alan Bean, Fourth Astronaut to Walk on the Moon Passed Away, Dies at 86
Alan Bean dies at 86 (Photo Credits: NASA)

The fourth person to walk on the moon, astronaut Alan Bean had died on May 26, 2018. One of the first Americans to spend a long time on a space station, his death was reported by his family members and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). They further informed that Bean took his last breath in Houston, Texas, United States after suffering from a short illness. His wife Leslie Bean was quoted in media reports, “Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly. A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him.”

Alan Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12—which made the second moon landing mission in November 1969. Four years later in July 1973, he became the commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab, United State’s first space station. It was on that mission that Bean and his two crew members orbited the Earth on a record setting time of 59 days and travelled 24.4 million miles. On his travel, he spent a total of 69 days in space that included 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon.

Mike Massimino, close colleague and astronaut said in his memory, “Alan Bean was the most extraordinary person I ever met.” He further added, “He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter.”

NASA's tweet on Alan Bean's death!

Born in the city of Texas in March 15, 1932, Alan Bean earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955. According to abc13.com, Bean was one of the fourteen trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts in October 1963. He attended the Navy Test Pilot School and spent more than 5,500 hours of flying time in 27 different types of aircraft.

Bean was also wanted to spent time in painting, so he left NASA in 1981. For more than four decades in his space career, he devoted his time in creating artistic record of humanity’s exploration of another world. His paintings are Apollo-themed featuring canvases textured with lunar prints as he wanted to tell people the stories of another world.

So far, 12 people have stepped in the lunar surface and Bean left his footprints on a region known as Ocean of Storms, just four months after Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon in Apollo 11 mission, July 1969. Bean is survived by his wife, sister, a daughter and son from his earlier marriage.