Alan Bean, Fourth Man to Walk on the Moon, Dies at 86

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Bean is one of only 12 men to have touched the moon's surface.

Apollo 12, the second manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 14th November 1969, with astronauts Conrad, Bean and Richard Gordon on board. During his entire career with NASA, Bean logged over 69 total days in space and 31 hours on the moon's surface.

Four years later, Alan Bean orbited Earth for close to two months as commander of Skylab Mission II, where he was joined by fellow astronauts Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma.

"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. He died Saturday at Houston Methodist Hospital. Two weeks earlier, he suddenly became ill while traveling in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

"I remember once looking back at Earth and starting to think, 'Gee, that's handsome.' Then I said to myself, 'Quit screwing off and go collect rocks.' We figured reflection wasn't productive", Alan Bean was quoted as saying by People magazine in 1981.

Leslie Bean, his wife of 40 years, reflected on their time together in a joint statement released by NASA.

After his Apollo mission, Bean commanded the second crewed mission the first U.S. space station, Skylab, in 1973, during which he orbited the earth for 59 days.

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"When you're getting ready to go to the moon, every day's like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one".

In 1973, he commanded the second crewed flight to the first USA space station, orbiting the Earth for 59 days and travelling 24.4 million miles - one of 11 world records he set in the fields of space and aeronautics. 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.

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

His Apollo-themed paintings feature canvases textured with lunar boot prints and embedded with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches.

He later described how complex and risky the mission had been: "It was more science fiction to us, I think, than it was to the average public".

"Retired astronaut Clayton Anderson tweeted "#RIP Alan Bean.

He leaves his second wife, Leslie, a son, Clay, and a daughter, Amy Sue, from his marriage to his first wife, Sue.