Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon and NASA's website., died at 86 on Saturday, according to a statement on
Bean was a US Navy test pilot prior to being picked by NASA as an astronaut in 1963. Six years later, he piloted, the second moon landing mission, and walked on the moon's surface with fellow astronaut Charles Conrad.
Among other things, the two explorers collected 75 pounds of moon rocks and soil for study on Earth. That "fantastic suite of lunar samples" is "a scientific gift that keeps on giving today and in the future," Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 17 lunar module pilot and the only geologist to walk on the moon, said in the statement.
"Their description of bright green concentrations of olivine (peridot) as 'ginger ale bottle glass,' however, gave geologists in Mission Control all a big laugh, as we knew exactly what they had discovered," Schmitt said.
Four years after his moon visit, Bean served as commander of the second crewed flight to the United States'. All told, Bean logged 69 days, 15 hours and 45 minutes in space, including 31 hours and 31 minutes on the moon's surface, the statement says.
In later years, Bean devoted himself to painting, taking his explorations of space as his subject. Some of his works used paint laced with small pieces of his moon dust-stained mission patches, the statement says.
Bean was the last remaining member of the Apollo 12 crew. Conrad died in 1999 and. The , died in 2012.
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