AN ALAN BEAN ORIGINAL.
"John Young Leaps into History," an original painting by Alan Bean, acrylic on canvas over panel, 29½ x 22½ inches, signed lower right and dated 1984. Framed.
One of only twelve men to have walked on the moon (the fourth to do so), Bean describes himself as "the first artist on another world." He retired from NASA in 1981 in order to devote all his time to art. Bean lists as his influences other explorer artists such as Moran and Bierstadt.
Of this particular work, which depicts John Young as photographed by Charles Duke during Apollo 16 on April 21, 1972, Bean has written: "You feel this way when you're finally on the Moon! It's the culmination of all you've studied and worked for since you were a little kid. You didn't know it then, but all the little things you were absorbing from parents, friends, and teachers formed the foundation for the dreams you would master later on.
John has jumped straight up about 3 feet or so. On Earth, this would have been impossible because John weighs 160 pounds and the suit and backpack weigh 150 pounds, so John would have to jump against 310 pounds. But on the Moon, everything (including John) weighs only one-sixth as much. John's legs only have to push against 52 pounds.
I can recall that while moving around on the Moon, I didn't feel lighter at all but, rather, I felt stronger. I could easily lift experiments I remembered in training to be heavy. When I consciously thought about it, I knew why; but, as I moved about doing work, I was not analyzing why. It seemed obvious that, when I could move with less effort, I was stronger.
Someday there will be athletic contests on the Moon, maybe even Solar System Olympics. The spacesuits will continue to improve and many astonishing records will be set. Just imagine being a high jumper, or a pole vaulter, or a shot putter, or a gymnast with a good, flexible spacesuit in light gravity. Watch out, record books!"