POULTNEY, Vt., April 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Alan Bean, one of only twelve men ever to see earth from the vantage point of the moon, is the guest speaker on Earth Day at Green Mountain College. Bean will give the address for the College's third annual Thomas L. Benson Lecture at 1 p.m. April 22.
Alan Bean was the fourth man to set foot on the moon during the Apollo 12 mission in November 1969, a few months before the first Earth Day was established in April 1970. He explored the landscape of the Ocean of Storms and later, as commander of Skylab Mission II, spent 59 days in orbit around earth. After retiring from NASA, Bean has spent the last few decades of his life as a painter, drawing inspiration from the world as seen from lunar and earthly perspectives. Bean will be presented with an honorary doctor of arts degree prior to his address.
When Bean retired from NASA in 1981, he devoted himself to what he referred to as a magnificent obsession: to interpret humankind's first exploration of another world through his skills as an artist. Four years after completing flight training in 1956 he was selected for The Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. He was later assigned to the Service Test Division where he spent three years as a test pilot, flying almost every type of plane in Navy service. At night, Bean took drawing and watercolor classes at St. Mary's College in St. Mary's City, Maryland.
In 1963 Bean was selected as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and he was later named Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 12, NASA's second mission to the moon.
Initially inspired by the French impressionists like Claude Monet, his studio work has evolved into an original combination of painting and sculpture. Bean uses the tools of lunar exploration, including the hammer he employed to pound a flagpole into the lunar surface, to texture his paintings. Artifacts from his lunar visit -- pieces of his Apollo spacesuit still soiled with moon dust -- are embedded in his work.
Earlier in the day, Green Mountain College will officially open its new combined heat and power (CHP) biomass plant which will provide 85% of the school's heat and generate 20% of its electricity. Vermont Governor James Douglas will cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the plant at a 10:30 a.m. ceremony. Number six fuel oil will now be used mainly as a backup to heat campus buildings. The College estimates it will burn about 5,000 tons of locally harvested woodchips each year as the primary fuel.
The Benson Lecture Series, named in honor of former Green Mountain College President Thomas L. Benson, aims to bring visionary speakers of national and international significance to the College campus. Benson was president from 1994-2002 and was the architect of the College's environmental liberal arts mission.
SOURCE Green Mountain College