Astronaut Artist Alan Bean Dies

Alan Bean the fourth man to walk on the moon is shown during a preview of his work at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin Texas

"A native Texans, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him".

"Alan Bean once said 'I have the nicest life in the world.' It's a comforting sentiment to recall as we mourn his passing", NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a press release.

According to NASA, Bean was commissioned as a U.S. Navy pilot in 1955, and he joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1963. Bean and crew member Pete Conrad explored the moon's surface and conducted experiments while Richard Gordon orbited overhead in the command module, looking for prospective landing positions for future moon missions. And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston.

Apollo 17's Harrison Schmitt, the only professional scientist to walk on the moon, praised the contribution that Bean and Conrad made to lunar geology.

He flew twice into space, first on Apollo 12 as the lunar module pilot, which was the second moon landing mission.

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.

Mike Massimino, who flew on two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope, remembered Mr Bean as "extraordinary".

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"Sad day. Not only did we lose a spaceflight pioneer, 4th man to walk on the moon, but also an exceptional artist that brought his experience back to Earth to share with the world".

FILE PHOTO: Astronaut Alan L. Bean holds a Special Environmental Sample Container filled with lunar soil collected during the Apollo 12 mission in this NASA handout photo provided November 19, 1969.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975 and from NASA six years later. The paintings sometimes included footprints from a molding of the boots he wore on the moon along with pieces of his spacesuit patches and a sprinkling of their moondust residue.

"I think I would like to be remembered in the end as an astronaut and an artist", Bean told People. "I've got the Earth and my imagination, and I'm the first to have the moon, too". But I want it to be the most attractive black dirt that's ever been painted in the history of art.

"A lot of things I think about come from the right side of my brain", he said in 2007.

Beam is survived by his wife Leslie, sister Paula Stott, and children Amy Sue and son Clay.

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