Kickstarter of the Century? Half a Million to Save Armstrong's Spacesuit

Kickstarter of the Century? Half a Million to Save Armstrong's Spacesuit

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum has launched a Kickstarter campaign to preserve Neil Armstrong's spacesuit. The suit, worn during the 1969 moonwalk, will degrade unless tended to.

That's one small donation for man, one giant stretch goal for mankind: today, the Smithsonian Institute launched a Kickstarter campaign to preserve the space suit worn by Neil Armstrong in the legendary 1969 walk on the moon.

Is this the Kickstarter campaign of the century?

The campaign's launch marks the 46th anniversary of a human being setting foot on the lunar surface, at about 8:18 UTC on July 20th, 1969. The museum hopes to have the display up in time for the 50th anniversary.

Armstrong, who passed away in 2012, was wearing this suit when he gingerly stepped down the lunar lander's ladder, and uttered the immediately famous words: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

The NASA mission ended the ongoing space race, and the United States remains the only country to have landed people on the moon.

It is the first in a series of Kickstarter-Smithsonian collaborations to raise money for future exhibits. The Smithsonian hopes that incorporating the public into its projects will raise interest in science and history, especially among those who otherwise wouldn't have a chance to contribute to research and preserveration.

Read: more space news from the Escapist

The spacesuit was never built to last: it was durable enough for a trip to the moon and back, but it is built our of materials that will eventually degrade. It hasn't been on display since 2006.

Apart from preserving the suit itself, the Kickstarter campaign's budget will go towards 3D scanning the suit to produce an online model, and building a custom mannequin that will wear the suit in its state-of-the-art display case.

Stretch goals have not been announced, but other Kickstarter campaigns suggest that if they double their goal backers will receive additional miniatures, beta access, and a downloadable NPC designed by Buzz Aldrin.

As of this article being published, the campaign has reached just under 20% of their goal.

Source: Kickstarter

Permalink

What a sad state it is that our own government can't be arsed to give funding to preserve a piece of one of the greatest achievements of mankind for it's own sake that these historians have to turn to us for that funding. I'm not even mad, it's not their fault they're asking us for money, I believe it should be preserved.... this just should have been a no brainer for our government to greenlight funding for this type of request of public funds. I'd be totally behind that.

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
You forgot the "a" in that quote, the reason so many people heard it wrong was because of the communication equipment. He meant it as one small step for a man given that he was just one man doing it when it was a huge leap for the entire species.

TitanAura:
What a sad state it is that our own government can't be arsed to give funding to preserve a piece of one of the greatest achievements of mankind for it's own sake that these historians have to turn to us for that funding. I'm not even mad, it's not their fault they're asking us for money, I believe it should be preserved.... this just should have been a no brainer for our government to greenlight funding for this type of request of public funds. I'd be totally behind that.

I assume they actually got the money for it, but decided to get even more money through Kickstarter. Basically the same shit that sp,e publisher are doing. They have the money, but they don't want to use their own money and invest it, they would rather make a kickstarter.

Even if the Kickstarter failed, they would preserve it.

Also this is some high grade material for tin foil hats.

"They didn't actually land on the moon, and this is the proof for it. If they did, the suit would be a national treasure and they wouldn't need to be for money on the internet."

Xan Krieger:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
You forgot the "a" in that quote, the reason so many people heard it wrong was because of the communication equipment. He meant it as one small step for a man given that he was just one man doing it when it was a huge leap for the entire species.

That's a good point, thanks! Edited the Armstrong quote.

What do they mean it's not built to last? How exactly is it degrading? Did they just put a mannequin in it and let any grubby handed tourist touch it? I've seen books from the 11th century. How the actual fuck do synthetics break down in 46 years?

Did they just carelessly toss the thing in the washing machine and dryer each day?

The real question isn't whether or not the money should be raised, but rather does the dismal state of the suit represent a real reason why the Smithsonian can be trusted with it.

PaulH:
What do they mean it's not built to last? How exactly is it degrading? Did they just put a mannequin in it and let any grubby handed tourist touch it? I've seen books from the 11th century. How the actual fuck do synthetics break down in 46 years?

Did they just carelessly toss the thing in the washing machine and dryer each day?

The real question isn't whether or not the money should be raised, but rather does the dismal state of the suit represent a real reason why the Smithsonian can be trusted with it.

To quote

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

Don't ask. The only justifiable reason given for the preservation is the colours on U.S flag are fading away. There's a hole and some stains but if they're going to repair that then they might as well just a get whole new suit.

mad825:

To quote

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

Why .... why is any of this necessary? Surely it's best to just keep the suit as it was when it returned to Earth. You know ... with all the lunar dust and other wear and tear. You know ... as a living record of the rigours and proof of mankind's expedition to our closest celestial object. Why do they need to do any of this? Why not treat it like an ancient book? Keep it in a sealed glass container like any other piece of antiquity and just leave it. Why does any of this need to occur?

mad825:

Don't ask. The only justifiable reason given for the preservation is the colours on U.S flag are fading away. There's a hole and some stains but if they're going to repair that then they might as well just a get all new suit.

Hole and some stains? And not merely lunar dust or expedition-based stains (you should keep that) but stains where; "they don't know where they came from..." Gah, reading the actual kickstarter it sounds like various curators had treated the garment like shit. They really should give the suit to some group like the Australian Dress Registry .... they have garments, perfectly preserved, from the 19th century.

No mysterious 'stains and holes' ...

Honestly, it's not a case where; "We weren't given enough money to properly preserve this." It's more so that the people who SHOULD HAVE been taking care of it did such a woeful job that something designed to stand up to the most rigourous stresses that can be imagined is now falling apart. I find it hard to believe that something designed to protect against such deleterious environments and conditions would then just develop holes on its own through natural degradation.

I've seen 60 year old used motorcycle jackets in better condition than that spacesuit.

I say give them the money, and then make them promise to give the suit to someone who will actually take care of the fucking thing.

So it's a fundraise and there just using kickstarter to be "in", usually they'd sent out message to all the "friend of the museum" highlighting restoring the suits as one of the planned project but here there trying this way.

Maybe it'll work maybe it won't, who knows. I think preserving the suits is a good idea, but I don't think scanning it has much use, what makes it interesting is who wore it, the 3D scan won't have that "attribute" if you want. Seems like there just adding that to justify getting more money.

Sort of think this is a gross misuse of Kickstarter, but then again our government has never really been able to manage money.

So... can the government give it's taxpayers back the money they just saved by finding a government project like a charity?

Otherwise, however noble (and this certainly IS noble) the cause then this all smells a bit fishy to me.

"Well the government isn't funding us enough to preserve amazing pieces of world history... Guess we'd better turn to kickstarter"

I don't know how I feel about this, on one hand yeah it's cool the suit is getting preserved and stuff I guess, but if this becomes a precedent, man I can see kickstarter turning into the next steam greenlight when it comes to random garbage being thrown onto it every day

Why would you want to preserve an outdated piece of hardware? Is it going to spontaneously combust unless they bathe it in a tub of cash? I just fail to see why we should care.

Xan Krieger:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
You forgot the "a" in that quote, the reason so many people heard it wrong was because of the communication equipment. He meant it as one small step for a man given that he was just one man doing it when it was a huge leap for the entire species.

I was under the impression that whilst he was supposed to say "for a man", he did actually fudge it on the day and say "for man"?

PaulH:

Honestly, it's not a case where; "We weren't given enough money to properly preserve this." It's more so that the people who SHOULD HAVE been taking care of it did such a woeful job that something designed to stand up to the most rigourous stresses that can be imagined is now falling apart. I find it hard to believe that something designed to protect against such deleterious environments and conditions would then just develop holes on its own through natural degradation.

I like to think it's because the museum curator(s) used it to pick up chicks. I mean, astronauts get all the Tang they want, and it's not like you can just buy one of those suits. Alternatively there was a compulsive need to one-up their golfing buddy's Argyle track-suit. Nothing beats golfing astronaut, except miniature dinosaurs.

OT: I'm not sure why anyone is surprised about this, museums don't have mandatory "donation" boxes for nothing. It's always been the case that the government is just kicking in the difference to keep the lights on, while the facilities coercively panhandle the guests for every cent they can manage.

Morti:

I was under the impression that whilst he was supposed to say "for a man", he did actually fudge it on the day and say "for man"?

Given the circumstances, I think Neil could be forgiven for fluffing his lines, if that were the case.

If I were in his boots, babbling like an over-excited, sugar-fuelled 4 year old would be the limit of my eloquence!

sorsa:
Why would you want to preserve an outdated piece of hardware? Is it going to spontaneously combust unless they bathe it in a tub of cash? I just fail to see why we should care.

Because it's one of the most significant items in US history? A symbol of what can be done if we, as a species, put our minds to it. Pictures in a book are all well and good but to actually see it up close can be much more inspiring.

No it wont combust but, like anything else, it will not last forever. Even something made to withstand the harshest environment ever explored by mankind is subject to the rigours of time. There are many things that could cause degradation, even to a space-suit.

Why should we care? The very fact that people don't care is what's getting on my tits with modern society these days. A lot of things we take for granted come out of the manned space programme and, on a more emotional level, the whole thing is something that the USA can be justifiably proud of. In an age where computers still took all day to get through the two-times table and were the size of a 1950's Buick, designing an entire programme on paper and doing calculations with slide-rules and then actually making it work, within a decade was a phenomenal achievement.

But who cares, right?

ME!!!

And so should anyone with any sense of imagination and wonder.

I have to agree with those who say that the government should pony up the cash for this one as it has to be one of the most culturally-significant items in US history.

Either way, it would be a crime to let it fall into such a state that it can't be fixed so I will be donating to this effort just as soon as I get paid.

BiH-Kira:

TitanAura:
What a sad state it is that our own government can't be arsed to give funding to preserve a piece of one of the greatest achievements of mankind for it's own sake that these historians have to turn to us for that funding. I'm not even mad, it's not their fault they're asking us for money, I believe it should be preserved.... this just should have been a no brainer for our government to greenlight funding for this type of request of public funds. I'd be totally behind that.

I assume they actually got the money for it, but decided to get even more money through Kickstarter. Basically the same shit that sp,e publisher are doing. They have the money, but they don't want to use their own money and invest it, they would rather make a kickstarter.

Even if the Kickstarter failed, they would preserve it.

Totally agree with this! Thanks for saving me from having to type that all out ;)

Rather shameless, really. Boosting funds for stuff (hardly) no one cares about by grabbing a cool million or more by pretending it's for something EVERYONE will donate for...

"Whelp, Internet paid for the suit. So now we can do some fun stuff with that mill we have lying around! :D".

Varrdy:

sorsa:
Why would you want to preserve an outdated piece of hardware? Is it going to spontaneously combust unless they bathe it in a tub of cash? I just fail to see why we should care.

But who cares, right?

ME!!!

And so should anyone with any sense of imagination and wonder.

The US government should be doing all in its power to inspire the next generation of thinkers. If nothing else NASA has inspired countless children to get into STEM fields... This would be a perfect opportunity to harp on about was is/was/could be rather than relegating the suit to the comparable backwater of kickstarter.

Invest in the future, rather than blowing it on the present (military).

Apathy is killing NASA (and museums) slowly, and it makes me sad. I hope you're happy US Government, you've made an aussie sad.

...Why? As in, why Kickstarter?

The government doesn't need Kickstarter because they have something better: taxes.

Someone Depressing:
...Why? As in, why Kickstarter?

The government doesn't need Kickstarter because they have something better: taxes.

The people who currently run the government don't believe in taxes. Start supporting taxes and the next thing you know all the backers for your billion-dollar reelection campaign have pulled out.

Varrdy:

Morti:

I was under the impression that whilst he was supposed to say "for a man", he did actually fudge it on the day and say "for man"?

Given the circumstances, I think Neil could be forgiven for fluffing his lines, if that were the case.

If I were in his boots, babbling like an over-excited, sugar-fuelled 4 year old would be the limit of my eloquence!

Me to except my first words couldn't be put in the newspapers without heavy censoring.

Me to except my first words couldn't be put in the newspapers without heavy censoring.[/quote]

Yeah, there would be a good chance of that with me, too...

"I'm about to step off the LM now. That's one small step for a man...AND I AM ON THE F**KING MOON! JESUS H. TAPDANCING CHRIST!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!"

--FLUFFED THIS ONE. ANY MOD READING THIS, PLEASE DELETE. SORRY!--

Xan Krieger:
Me to except my first words couldn't be put in the newspapers without heavy censoring.

Yeah, there would be a good chance of that with me, too...

"I'm about to step off the LM now. That's one small step for a man...AND I AM ON THE F**KING MOON! JESUS H. TAPDANCING CHRIST!!! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!"

Someone Depressing:
...Why? As in, why Kickstarter?

The government doesn't need Kickstarter because they have something better: taxes.

An interesting thing to note: The money that you pledge for this Kickstarter campaign is tax deductible. (Edit: Granted that you pay US taxes)

Under every pledge reward:
$X (your total pledge minus the fair market value of the reward) is deductible from your pledge for federal income tax purposes. Please retain this document for your records.

All i see here is an excuse to swindle some money from gullible people. I doubt that the US is so broke that they can't preserve one suit. Museums have crap from thousands of years ago and they can't handle something from the late 90's.

PaulH:
What do they mean it's not built to last? How exactly is it degrading? Did they just put a mannequin in it and let any grubby handed tourist touch it? I've seen books from the 11th century. How the actual fuck do synthetics break down in 46 years?

11th century books were written on papyrus with ink made out of animal guts. they are far stronger than modern techniques. in fact librarians are having much more trouble with 19th century books fading away to unreadability due to low quality of ink used while the 11th century ones staying pretty much intact. It certainly is the case of "they dont make them how they used to".

Strazdas:

11th century books were written on papyrus with ink made out of animal guts. they are far stronger than modern techniques. in fact librarians are having much more trouble with 19th century books fading away to unreadability due to low quality of ink used while the 11th century ones staying pretty much intact. It certainly is the case of "they dont make them how they used to".

Hell no. Read the actual kickstarter, it developed holes (that were badly patched), unknown 'mysterious stains'. They treated the garment like crap. As I made in the subsequent post, take the fashion museum repository like the Australian Dress Registry. Perfectly preserved articles of clothing over the last 150 years. No mysterious holes, or stains. Many on rotational public displays.

I can understand why the rubber might be hardening and cracking, but it's not like they'll be reusing the suit. It just seems like they treated the thing like crap and they're expecting people to pay them for damages due their inability to take care of a keepsake from one of the greatest journeys ever undertaken by mankind.

Synthetics do not break down this quickly without wear and tear. The suit was worn once, admittedly in some of the harshest conditions that you can subject clothes to short of tossing them into an open fire place. No excuse for the subsequent damage since the article entered into the museum.

ccggenius12:

I like to think it's because the museum curator(s) used it to pick up chicks. I mean, astronauts get all the Tang they want, and it's not like you can just buy one of those suits. Alternatively there was a compulsive need to one-up their golfing buddy's Argyle track-suit. Nothing beats golfing astronaut, except miniature dinosaurs.

OT: I'm not sure why anyone is surprised about this, museums don't have mandatory "donation" boxes for nothing. It's always been the case that the government is just kicking in the difference to keep the lights on, while the facilities coercively panhandle the guests for every cent they can manage.

You know what? You're probably right. I can see it now;

"Fucking Dave ... stole my costume idea. Ain't nobody going to be impressed with my Julius Caesar now ..."

<Digs about the various curated goods storage and spots spacesuit>

"Bingo, bitches!"

I used to work in a museum, and I think it is shocking the state such a historic garment is in. It has obviously not had a decent curator looking after it, and the patch jobs are ridiculous. We had 200 year old clothes in a better state

Okay, seriously? It's a frigging museum piece. You preserve history. There is no middle ground here.

If NASA doesnt care enough about it to properly take care of it in the first place t.......

Why should we PAY them to "properly" take care of it this time?

What they should do is sell it to a Private collector, or museum.

1. It will bring in money for NASA to do more projects. (And take it out their incompetent hands.)
2. Someone who pays 8 billion dollars for it, will make damn sure no more "unknown" stains will appear.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here