Astronaut Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the Moon who later turned to painting, died Saturday. He was 86.
Bean, a native of Wheeler, Texas, was a member of the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, traveling to the moon alongside Pete Conrad and Richard Gordon.
Bean and Conrad conducted experiments on the moon’s surface and installed a nuclear power generator on the moon.
He was also spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II in 1973, spending 59 days in space.
Following his space days, Bean became a painter — inspired in large part by his out-of-this-world experiences.
“In his 18 years as an astronaut, he was fortunate enough to visit worlds and see sights no artists eye, past or present, has ever viewed firsthand and he hopes to express these experiences through the medium of art,” NASA wrote in its biography on Bean.
Bean was hospitalized in mid-May after traveling to Indiana for a speech, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported. He was later the subject of death rumors on social media, with celebrities such as Tom Hanks — who starred in “Apollo 13” — reflecting on Bean’s life.
“Alan Bean. Artist. Astronaut. Apollo 12. Ocean of Storms. Footprints on the moon. Skylab, too. Great guy. Goodbye,” Hanks wrote.