The Smithsonian Institution has turned to crowd-sourcing and has launched a Kickstarter campaign, “Reboot the Suit,” to obtain funds to preserve, digitize and display the space suit that Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon, right down to the moon dust that still clings to it. There are 16 days to go on the kickstarter campaign. I saw that spacesuit walk on the moon in 1969, live and real-time, as it happened. The Smithsonian had hoped to raise $500,000 to achieve that goal. I gave what I could afford, which I am embarrassed to say wasn’t much, but I am delighted to say that the original goal has been reached and passed.
They now have a “stretch goal” of raising $700,000, with the extra $200,000 to go to preserving, digitizing and displaying Alan Shepherd’s space suite, that he wore during the initial Mercury launch when he became the first American in space. All of this campaign is aimed toward the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and a new exhibit which will detail what it took to get us to the moon and how we got there.
I am particularly interested by the idea of “digitizing” these suits:
“3D scanning the Armstrong spacesuit gives us the chance to put the suit directly into your hands. With a 3D scan of the suit, you can take a self-guided tour and explore the functions of each of the suit’s 21 layers (check out 3D models of other iconic Smithsonian collection objects). You can make a 3D print of Armstrong’s glove and slip it over your hand. Teachers will have a dynamic new tool for talking about the technology required for living and working in space. 3D scanning also ensures that our conservators and curators have an accurate picture of the suit in its current condition, helping to monitor and preserve the suit and protect it from further deterioration.”
Anyway, I’m signal boosting this to spread the word. There’s 16 days left on the campaign. Pledge. $11 isn’t all that much. Every little bit helps. This is our history, history I was privileged to witness happen. It’s part of our legacy to the future.