VP of astronomy at Houston Museum of Natural Science remembers Alan Bean's legacy


HOUSTON – The fourth man to step foot on the moon was native Texan Alan Bean.

He spent 1,671 hours and 45 minutes in space.

"He was a wonderful man. Understated, kind, caring, wonderful man, and he's gone,” said Dr. Carolyn Sumners, the vice president of astronomy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

She said Bean always offered help educating our youth.

"We have people who have walked on the moon. And we can't continue the legacy. We need the big spacecraft. You have to go down to NASA and see the Saturn V and realize Alan Bean was sitting on top of that thing," she said.

Bean joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 1963. Just six years later, Bean piloted the lunar module for the Apollo 12 mission when he walked on the moon.

Bean said in an earlier NASA interview that, "One of the things I've loved about NASA is it never stood still."

Bean never stood still, either. He commanded the Skylab Mission 2 where he broke a world record with 59 days in space traveling more than 24 million miles.

Bean once said, "After Skylab I began to say, you know, I've seen sights that no other artist in all of history has ever seen."

So Bean picked up a paintbrush and started painting. He illustrated the world he experienced. Every painting included a little moon dust from his space suit.

"It takes a lot of energy for us to leave the earth. And a lot of spirit. And I think a little of that spirit kinda flew away this weekend,” Sumners said of Bean’s legacy.