Smithsonian scrambles to save Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit

Smithsonian scrambles to save Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit

Will a Kickstarter campaign to conserve Neil Armstrong's spacesuit from his historic walk on the moon reach its goal?

The National Air and Space Museum has desperately reached out to the public for help in raising the money necessary to save one of the most prized artifacts in American history: the spacesuit Neil Armstrong was wearing when he made those historic first steps on the surface of the moon.

Fortunately, Americans stepped up to the challenge and made their dollars count, and the Kickstarter campaign successfully reached its $500,000 goal in just five days. Now, the Smithsonian has raised its goal to $700,000 in the hopes of also conserving the spacesuit of Alan Shepard, according to an Associated Press report. Shepard was the first American in space.

The spacesuit Kickstarter campaign will run for another 24 days, which, considering the pace of contributions, should be more than enough time for the Smithsonian to reach its goal and then some. The money would go toward conserving, digitizing, and displaying the suits, with Amstrong’s spacesuit to be put on display in 2019 and then featured in another exhibit in 2020.

The new display of Armstrong’s suit would primarily help conserve the suit, but it would also allow the Smithsonian to display it on the 50th anniversary of that historic spacewalk, when Americans were glued to their TV screens to watch Armstrong in that spacesuit declare that it was “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Years before Armstrong’s historic walk, Shepard set another important milestone in 1961, becoming the first American to travel into the space, and the second person ever to go into space. He was aboard NASA’s Mercury spacecraft that entered space but did not enter into orbit with the Earth. Shepard was also on the Apollo 14 mission 10 years later and piloted the lander. He was the fifth and the oldest person to walk on the surface of the moon.

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