NASA Astronaut Alan Bean dies at 86

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Bean spent 31 hours on the moon, collecting samples and deploying several experiments with mission commander Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr.

"I would say I had zero philosophical thoughts at that time", Bean told NPR of his time on the moon in 2014.

He added: "We will remember him fondly as the great explorer who reached out to embrace the universe". "I think everyone can do more than one thing with his life".

Born on March 15, 1932, in Wheeler, Texas, Bean received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Texas in 1955.

"It looked like courageous people did that".

Bean left the Navy in 1975, but did not leave NASA until 1981. But I want it to be the most handsome black dirt that's ever been painted in the history of art. "He was a one of a kind combination of technical achievement as an astronaut and artistic achievement as a painter".

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

Bean's death followed a sudden illness that befell him two weeks earlier during a trip to Fort Wayne, Ind., for a school fundraising event.

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.

"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", Bean told People magazine in 1981. "Fair winds and following seas, Captain", Kelly tweeted.

Bean was a test pilot in the U.S. Navy.

She wrote that he was her "hero" and she felt "fortunate to have met him".

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

Bean is survived by his wife Leslie; two children from a previous marriage, Amy Sue and Clay; and sister Paula Scott.

"Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew", his wife, Leslie Bean, said in a statement. "And for years, Alan and I never missed a month where we did not have a cheeseburger together at Miller's Café in Houston", Cunningham said.

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