Headed for the Last Parking Lot

Headed to the Last Parking Lot
Painting Completed 1982, 14 x 20 inches, Acrylic on Masonite. Image and Story Copyrighted by Alan Bean. All rights reserved.

Gene Cernan is saying his last farewell to the lunar roving vehicle. He and Jack Schmitt have just completed offloading all the rock and soil samples and put them inside the lunar module ascent stage for the long trip home. Gene will drive the rover to a point behind the lunar module so that we earthlings can watch the liftoff a few hours hence.
We can see the television with its lens and protective hood. Just under it is the mounting and control assembly which allows the television to be remotely operated from the mission control in Houston. This wonderful feature let those of us here on Earth see what we wanted while Gene and Jack went about their work.
Inside the left front wheel, we can see the one-quarter horsepower electric motor that drives the wheel. There is one on each wheel for a total of 1 horsepower. Not bad for a vehicle that can carry 1,000 pounds for a total range of 40 miles.
Someday astronauts will return to this place. My guess is that they will climb aboard the rover and try to get one more ride. Maybe they can if they bring the right set of jumper cables.

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Monday, March 2, 6pm

Come see me tell the “Family” story of the Race to the Moon and hear the  lessons I learned from growing up “A Moonwalker’s Daughter”.

It has been sometime since I saw Dad’s painting, “Headed for the Last Parking Lot”, so I am thrilled it is on display at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

Finished one year after Dad left NASA to pursue his dream as an Apollo Artist, he created this painting in his first Houston studio. My father lived simply-reading, studying, painting, learning from other artists, especially Lajos Markos, a Hungarian-American artist he greatly admired. Dad painted for 5 more years from that small home studio.

An artist on the rise, Dad needed space for his models, studies, lights, cameras, the many supplies and tools of an Artist. He and his wife, Leslie, moved into a home down the street. Floor to ceiling windows, the dappled shade of East Texas pine trees and the pink and white flowers they planted under them, framed his easel. An arrangement of paintbrushes in a vase, tubes of colored paint neatly lined up on his taboret-this is the image that comes to mind when I remember my father in his creative sanctuary, his studio.


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