Astronaut Alan Bean, who was the fourth person to walk on the moon, has died. A statement released by NASA and family members says Bean died Saturday in Houston after a short illness, the AP reports. He was 86. Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, which made the second moon landing in 1969. He then commanded the second crewed flight to the United States' first space station, Skylab, in 1973. On that mission, he orbited the Earth for 59 days and traveled 24.4 million miles, a record at the time.
Bean spent a total of 69 days in space, including 31 hours on the moon. Since retiring from the Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, he dedicated himself to creating paintings inspired by the Apollo missions. His wife of 40 years, Leslie Bean, says in the statement he died peacefully surrounded by those who loved him. "Alan was the strongest and kindest man I ever knew," says Leslie. "He was the love of my life and I miss him dearly."
(Read more astronaut