Artist-astronaut Alan Bean, the moonwalker who saw himself as different from the rest, died today at the age of 86 at Houston Medical Hospital. Bean reportedly became sick while in Forth Wayne, Indiana two weeks before his death.
They were busy, but, as Bean recalled during a 2016 NPR interview, "as I ran along, I remember. saying to myself, 'You know, this is really the moon. He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly", Bean's widow, Leslie Bean, said in a statement. "A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him".
About 45 of Mr. Bean's paintings were displayed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington in an exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the first moon walk.
The Apollo 12 mission started with a shakeup. "He said he hoped to capture those experiences through his art". Bean and Conrad spent more than 31 hours on the lunar surface, including more than seven hours working outside of the module.
On the Skylab mission, Bean orbited the Earth for 59 days.
Four years after Apollo 12, Bean commanded the second crew to live and work on board the Skylab orbital workshop. He even worked with "Star Trek" actress Nichelle Nichols on outreach efforts to prospective astronauts.
Bean was born March 15, 1932 in Wheeler, Texas. There are now only four men alive who have ever been on the moon, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, David Scott, Charles Duke, Jr., and Harrison "Jack" Schmitt.
Mr. Bean returned to space in July 1973, when he commanded a three-man flight to the orbiting space research station Skylab, the forerunner of the International Space Station. "About half the astronauts thought it was a midlife crisis or something".
Bean remembered telling a senior NASA official named George Abbey the reason he was leaving the space agency.
He said: "I think a lot of it just had to do with it looked exciting". "My boss asked if I could make a living off art, and I said I didn't know, but I had to find out". He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955. Inspired to become a pilot, he started flight training at age 17.
"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.