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"Armstrong Heads Beyond the Boulders" by Alan Bean

Armstrong Heads Beyond the Boulders
by Alan Bean

Neil and Buzz were well below 2000 feet in their descent before Neil could take his first look out his window and study the landing area.   “Pretty rocky area”, Neil said to Buzz over the intercom.  Neil would later say, “We were landing just short and slightly north (to the right) of a large rocky crater surrounded by a large boulder field with very large rocks covering a high percentage of the surface.”

Neil initially felt this might be a good landing area if he could stop short of that crater.  The scientists back on Planet Earth would be excited if we could land near those boulders from deep below the surface of the moon; however, “as I continued to monitor our descent it became obvious I could not stop short enough to find a safe landing area.”

Neil knew from many hours of training in the lunar module simulator that overflying the programmed landing area was going to add risk to an already risky enterprise.  First, were the landing conditions up ahead any better than right here?  From here he could not tell.

And he would have to use precious fuel to fly over the boulders-fuel he might need later to hover over the surface to find a safe place to land.   But it was too dangerous to land here.

So Neil pitched upright to slow his descent and to get the Eagle moving faster beyond west crater and it’s boulder field. Even Buzz seemed a bit surprised at how fast Neil was moving across the lunar surface when he said to Neil over the intercom, “You’re pegged on horizontal velocity.” 

Neil was right; some of those boulders were as big as Volkswagens.  Up ahead it looks better . . . if they can get just beyond little west crater, perhaps a thousand feet ahead . . . . Neil, on the intercom only:  “Okay.  Here’s a . . . looks like a good area here.”

The rest is history.  With billions of humans 240,000 miles away back on Planet Earth holding their breath, Neil and Buzz touched down at tranquility base with only 42 seconds of fuel remaining.

Own a unique and beautiful piece of lunar history, Alan Bean’s Armstrong Head's Beyond the Boulders, is painted by the first and only artist to visit another world. Each canvas is signed by the legendary Apollo 12 astronaut, moonwalker and artist - each a work of art, each a historic document, each your own personal connection to traveling in space. Own a Fine Art Edition Canvas by astronaut and explorer Alan Bean and you will never look at the Moon the same way again.

"Armstrong Heads Beyond the Boulders" by Alan Bean

Sizing & Pricing

Greenwich Workshop
Fine Art Giclée Canvas:
limited to 95 s/n.
22"w x 16"h.

Alan Bean: Artist and Astronaut

Captain Alan Bean was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the fourth man to walk on the moon and commander of Skylab 2. “I am fortunate enough to have seen sights no other artist ever has,” Bean says.

“I want my paintings to communicate an emotional experience in ways that photography cannot.”

Captain Bean creates his original works of art using a unique technique allowing the viewer to actually sense vestiges of the 20th century’s most dramatic accomplishments. Pressed into the canvas surfaces are Captain Bean’s authentic lunar boot “moonprints,” impressions from a core tube-bit used to collect soil samples and marks from a hammer used to drive the staff of the American flag into the moon’s surface. Moon dust, trapped on the patches on the outside of his suit, makes its way onto each original as well.

Each print and canvas is an historical record of the lunar experience, as each is signed by moonwalker Captain Alan Bean, with most countersigned by other moonwalkers and astronauts.This may be your only chance to own such a visionary and historic celebration of man’s greatest achievement. NASA was sometimes asked “Why not send an artist to the moon?” It turns out they did.


Alan Bean—Apollo XII astronaut, commander of Skylab II and artist—was born in 1932 in Wheeler, Texas. In 1950 he was selected for an NROTC scholarship at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1955, he was commissioned an ensign in the United States Navy.

Holder of eleven world records in space and astronautics, as well as numerous national and international honors, Alan Bean has had a most distinguished peacetime career. His awards include two NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the Yuri Gagarin Gold Medal and the Robert J. Collier Trophy. As part of the Apollo XII crew, he became the fourth of only twelve men ever to walk on the Moon. As the spacecraft commander of Skylab Mission II, he set a world record: 24,400,000 miles traveled during the 59-day flight. He has also launched himself successfully into a new career as an artist.

When he wasn’t flying, Bean always enjoyed painting as a hobby. Attending night classes at St. Mary’s College in Maryland in 1962, Alan experimented with landscapes. During training and between missions as a test pilot and astronaut, he continued private art lessons. On space voyages, his artist’s eye and talent enabled him to document impressions of the Moon and space to be preserved later on canvas. His art reflects the attention to detail of the aeronautical engineer, the respect for the unknown of the astronaut and the unabashed appreciation of a skilled painter.

The space program has seen unprecedented achievements and Bean realized that most of those who participated actively in this adventure would be gone in forty years. He knew that if any credible artistic impressions were to remain for future generations, he must paint them now. “My decision to resign from NASA in 1981 was based on the fact that I am fortunate enough to have seen sights no other artist ever has,” Bean said, “and I hope to communicate these experiences through art.”

Bean’s book Apollo: An Eyewitness Account which chronicles his first-person experience as an Apollo astronaut in words and paintings was received with critical and popular acclaim upon its publication in 1998.

Alan Bean samples the Ocean of Storms.

Is Anyone Out There?

A detail of Is Anyone Out There showing the lunar boot moonprints and core tube-bit imprint.

Alan Bean in 1981

Alan Bean in his studio

Alan Bean: Video
Watch this clip from the documentary Alan Bean: Artist.
Alan Bean, in his studio, discusses his art.


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