Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean dies

Alan Bean was the fourth man to walk on the moon

Alan Bean was the fourth man to walk on the moon

Bean died at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston at the age of 86.

"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew", she said. "A native Texan, Alan died peacefully in Houston surrounded by those who loved him".

In October 1963, Bean became one of 14 trainees selected by NASA for its third group of astronauts.

Working at his home in Houston, Bean created paintings that focused on the Apollo missions, with images of himself and other astronauts on the moon rendered with the authenticity in lighting and color that only an eyewitness could provide. During the then-record-setting 59-day, 24.4 million-mile flight, Bean and his two crewmates generated 18 miles of computer tape during surveys of Earth's resources and 76,000 photographs of the Sun to help scientists better understand its affects on the solar system. "Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger". He flew into space on his first mission in 1969 aboard the Apollo 12 on NASA's second moon landing.

"Most of my colleagues were really surprised", he told PEOPLE at the time.

Bean became an accomplished artist after his retirement in 1981, painting scene from his space explorations.

Astronaut Alan Bean and Leslie Bean attend the premiere of "In The Shadow Of The Moon" on September 5, 2007 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

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Retired astronaut Scott Kelly said on Twitter that the world had not only lost "a spaceflight pioneer. but also an exceptional artist that brought his experience back to Earth to share with the world".

The Apollo 12 mission started with a shakeup.

Bean was born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932 and educated at the University of Texas - graduating in 1955. 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. And it got me in trouble at NASA at first.

In addition to his wife, Leslie, Alan Bean is survived by a sister, Paula Stott; and two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue Bean and Clay Bean.

"I wanted to be courageous, even though I wasn't fearless at the time".

He said he thought about it often, "and when I look at the moon at night, [I] think about that pin up there, just as shiny as it ever was, and someday maybe somebody will go pick it up".

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