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Smithsonian raising $500 000 to preserve and display Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit

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The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is on a mission to preserve one of history’s most iconic artefacts and has launched its first ever Kickstarter campaign to raise $500 000 it needs to do so.

20th July marks the anniversary of the Apollo 11 1969 mission to the moon and the Smithsonian plans to preserve, digitise and display the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore when he landed on the moon by July 2019, which will mark the mission’s 50th anniversary, through its Reboot the Suit campaign.

Preserving a 46-year-old spacesuit down to the finest details including particles of lunar dust that cling to its surface is an extensive and costly feat, the museum explains. This is mainly because spacesuits back in those days were not made to last very long beyond purposes for their short-term missions.

The spacesuit is currently being housed in a private climate-controlled collections storage area.

“To provide public display and access, Armstrong’s spacesuit requires conservation to stop current deterioration and a state-of-the-art display case that will mimic the climate-controlled environment where it is currently being safeguarded,” the Kickstarter page reads.

This lengthy project is also very important because it will also more or less set the pattern for spacesuit preservation techniques for future similar projects.

“As we complete this research, we’ll be using state-of-the-art techniques in 3D scanning, photogrammetry, chemical analysis, CT scanning, and other means available to create a detailed map of the suit that will document its condition in the most complete way possible,” the Smithsonian adds.

“This work will inform a condition assessment that will help us create the appropriate environment for public display while preserving the suit in its current condition.”

Below is an inforgraphic of some of the planned work to be done on the spacesuit.

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The Armstrong spacesuit will be displayed at the Museum in Washington DC in time for its targeted deadline. Thereafter it will be permanently moved and displayed as the centre of attraction at the yet-to-be opened Destination Moon exhibition.

The Reboot the Suit campaign has raised $163 270 so far and closes on 19th August.

[Source and images – Kickstarter]

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