Nasa and family announce death on Saturday of man who was the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 12 mission
The astronaut Alan Bean, who in 1969 became the fourth person to walk on the moon, has died. He was 86. A statement released by Nasa and family members said he died on Saturday in Houston, after a short illness.
Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, which built the second moon landing. He then commanded the second crewed flight to the first US space station, Skylab, in 1973. On that mission, he orbited the Earth for 59 days and traveled 24.4 million miles, a world record at the time.
Bean spent a total of 69 days in space, including 31 hours on the moon. Only 12 people have ever set foot on the lunar surface. Bean left his footprints on a region called the Ocean of Storms four months after Neil Armstrong became the first man to stroll on the moon, in the historic Apollo 11 mission of July 1969.
On Apollo 12, Bean and Pete Conrad investigated the moon’s surface and conducted experimentations while Richard Gordon orbited in the command module, scouting landing sites for future missions.
” I recollect once looking back at Earth and starting to think,’ Gee, that’s beautiful ,'” Bean told People magazine in 1981.” Then I said to myself,’ Quit screwing off and run collect stones .’ We figured reflection wasn’t productive .”
The mission was a success, though it started with a jolt. Shortly after liftoff, the rocket was struck by lightning. The crew was able to continue the three-day flight to the moon.
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