Alan Bean, fourth astronaut to walk the moon, dies at 86

Alan Bean, fourth astronaut to walk the moon, dies at 86
Alan Bean, fourth astronaut to walk the moon, dies at 86

Texas : Former US astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk the moon, has passed away in Texas at the age of 86. He was ill from past two weeks and was admitted to a hospital in Indiana. 

Quitting his job as a scientist, he had turned into an artist with a super skill of painting the space on paper.

Astronaut Mike Massimino described Bean as "the most extraordinary person I ever met".

"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.

About Alan Bean's journey to space

Alan Bean was selected in NASA as a trainee in 1963. He went to space twice in his life, first in 1969 and then in 1973.

In November 1969, Alan went to space as the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 moon-landing mission. In 1973 he was commander of the second crewed flight to Skylab - America's first space station.

The US astronaut retired from NASA in 1981 and moved towards his passion for paintings. Interestingly, he attached space to it too. His paintings, inspired by space travel, featured lunar boot prints as well as small pieces of his mission patches which were stained by Moon dust.

The three astronauts who preceded Alan Bean to the moon's surface were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 in July 1969, and Charles Conrad who was also on the Apollo 12 mission.