As the 50th anniversary of the moon landing next year approaches, the Smithsonian has begun the laborious and inspiring project of restoring Neil Armstrong’s historic spacesuit. As Armstrong regains his place in the cultural zeitgeist with the upcoming biopic First Man, the museum has done all it can to reanimate the piece of living history, even opening a Kickstarter that has raised nearly $720,000 for the restoration.
The spacesuit has always been among the most important artifacts of the moon landing. After the 1969 mission, the suit toured all 50 states, and then was displayed in museums until 2006, when it became too fragile to leave out in public. Due to the suit’s space-determined fabrics, it deteriorates all on its own. Chemicals inside the suit’s rubber lining expedite the aging process.
With the efforts of the Smithsonian and the Kickstarter contributors, the suit will be resurrected and placed in a case with extremely precise temperature and light conditions that will aid the suit’s prosperity. Despite its fragility, the suit’s power remains. “Imagine a person standing in this suit on the moon, looking back at earth. It’s emotional. You don’t get numb to these sort of things,” said Malcolm Collum of the National Air and Space Museum.
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