The Smithsonian wants $500,000 to save Neil Armstrong's spacesuit

Neil Armstrong

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum just asked for $US500,000 to display and preserve the spacesuit that Neil Armstrong wore on his historic journey to the moon in its first crowdfunding campaign ever.

July 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission where Armstrong first set foot on the lunar surface. To celebrate that milestone, the Smithsonian wants to safeguard, digitize and house the artifact in an ultramodern climate controlling display case in future exhibit “Destination Moon“.

Saving Armstrong’s suit for this project, called “Reboot the Suit”, is important since its frame wasn’t made to last.

“NASA made [spacesuits]…to get astronauts into space, to protect them while they’re there, and get them home,” Public Affairs Specialist Alison Mitchell told The Guardian. “They didn’t think about materials that would last hundreds of years like we’re trying to do.”

But museum-goers won’t be able to tell that the suit has been made over, according to the Smithsonian Kickstarter statement. The museum is going to conserve the 21-layer suit by reversing the effects of deterioration, instead of giving it a brand new appearance, with the help of global material experts and the makers of the suit themselves.

If the museum reaches its needed half million in funding, it will make exploring the complex suit possible in the form of a 3D self-guided exhibit. Visitors will also be able to wear a 3D recreation of Armstrong’s glove.

The Smithsonian needs people’s pledges because projects like Reboot the Suit aren’t qualified for federal funds — the government only provides for operations, research, safeguarding collections and maintenance.

The amount currently raised is nearing $US60,000.

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