Sheffield youngsters are over the moon at astronaut’s visit

Astronaut Alan Bean at Birkdale School.
Astronaut Alan Bean at Birkdale School.

It was an out-of-this-world experience for pupils at a Sheffield school the day an astronaut came to call.

Captain Alan Bean – only the fourth man to walk on the moon – was a very special guest at Broomhill’s Birkdale School.

The NASA veteran, now aged 81, gave a much-anticipated talk to students about his amazing experiences in outer space.

School spokeswoman Anne Oliver said: “The pupils were enthralled by Alan’s description of his moon walk and he took them on a wonderful journey, all the way from liftoff, into space and then back to earth with him.”

Captain Bean made his first space flight as lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, the second mission to land on the moon in November 1969.

He became the fourth person to walk on the moon at the age of 37.

With his co-pilot Captain Pete Conrad, Alan landed in the Ocean of Storms after a flight of 250,000 miles.

They explored the lunar surface, deployed several experiments and installed the first nuclear-powered generator station on the moon to provide their spacecraft’s power source.

Captain Bean made his second and final flight into space on the Skylab 3 mission in 1973, the second manned mission to the space station.

Anne said: “Alan explained how it had always been his ambition to be a pilot which led him to be selected by NASA. He described some of the training, including how he became a geologist to identify the rocks required for research purposes.

“He left his audience with this message: ‘Keep working hard towards your goal. Be the best that you can be. No-one ever expected that I would fly to the moon but I worked hard to achieve it!’

“This was an amazing opportunity and honour for all to listen to a man with such a unique experience and clear perspective on what earth has to offer humans, having been to the moon himself and seeing our planet from afar.”