For the first time ever, the Smithsonian is using Kickstarter — and they’ve picked one heck of a worthy cause for the inaugural campaign.
The crowdfunding campaign aims to digitize and exhibit astronaut Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit at the National Air and Space Museum by 2019, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing. The effort is aiming to raise $500,000 to make it all happen. In a nice bit of symmetry, the campaign began exactly 46 years after Armstrong’s moon walk on July 20, 1969. Well played, space geeks. Well played.
Here’s an excerpt from the campaign pitch, where the Smithsonian explains a bit more about what they’re doing:
For the Smithsonian’s first-ever Kickstarter campaign, we are proud to announce plans to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit in time for this milestone anniversary. We want to preserve Armstrong’s spacesuit – and the story it tells of its incredible journey – down to the particles of lunar dust that cling to its surface. Just like the Apollo program, we will accomplish this in collaboration of thousands of people across the country and around the world. And that’s where you come in.
So, why is this so important? Because this suit is almost half a century old, and though they were built to survive the harsh exposure of space, they weren’t built to last forever. The materials are breaking down, and because of those issues, the suit hasn’t been on display since 2006. The spacesuit Armstrong wore is an iconic piece of human history, and we’re losing it to something as simple and boring as time. That’s unacceptable.
So the team plans to spend that money to preserve it for posterity, so future generations can geek out over this thing for years to come. It’ll also be digitized, so we can all geek out at home.
If you’re interested in kicking in some cash, click here for more intel on the campaign.