Astronaut and moonwalker Alan Bean dies at 86

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Officials say American astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth person to walk on the moon in 1969 during the Apollo 12 mission, died on Saturday.

During the two moonwalks Bean helped destroy several surface experiments and installed the first nuclear-powered generator station on the moon to provide the power source.

His family said he had fallen ill two weeks ago in IN and died peacefully at a hospital in Houston.

Leaving his footprints on a region called the Ocean of Storms, Bean in November 1969 became the fourth man to walk on the moon as one of the astronauts on the second of NASA's lunar landing missions, Apollo 12.

Bean retired from the Navy in 1975, and from NASA in 1981. "Alan and I have been best friends for 55 years - ever since the day we became astronauts", said Walt Cunningham, who flew on Apollo 7.

Bean's paintings depict the moon, astronauts, modules and other elements of America's missions into space.

Bean was born in Wheeler, Texas, in 1932 and educated at the University of Texas - graduating in 1955. Armstrong once said, "Alan Bean and his "astroartistry" recreate the drama and excitement of man's exploration of the moon as only could be chronicled by one who has been there".

Many of Mr. Bean's fellow astronauts were evidently taken aback by his choosing the art world over private business.

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He obtained a commission in Navy aviation and after completing test-pilot school was selected by NASA as one of 14 new astronauts in October 1963.

They also reached Surveyor 3, an unmanned lunar probe that had flown to the moon 31 months earlier, and cut away pieces of it so NASA could examine the moon's impact on its materials.

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

Astronaut Scott Kelly mourned Bean on Twitter, calling him a "spaceflight pioneer".

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

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.

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", Leslie Bean, his wife of 40 years, said in a statement released by NASA and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation.

In 1994 Bean told The New York Times the otherworldly perspectives he got in space inspired him to devote the latter half of his life to art, to the surprise of many of his colleagues.

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