Neil Armstrong's Lunar Spacesuit Back on Display at Smithsonian

After 13 years of restoration, Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit has been unveiled once more at the Smithsonian.
Fabienne Lang
Neil Armstrong 3-D SpacesuitSmithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The iconic spacesuit that astronaut Neil Armstrong famously wore as he became the first man to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969 - exactly 50 years ago this week - has been put back up on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

The suit underwent special and serious conservation work over the last 13 years, after it had been taken down from the Smithsonian's display for fear of deterioration. It had been on display for 30 years by then.


"One of the most treasured artifacts in the Smithsonian's collection"

"The complexity of the suit ensures it could support human life in the harshest of environments: extreme heat and cold, radiation, micrometeorites and the threat of cuts from sharp rocks all had to be taken into consideration," said Ellen Stofan, the Washington D.C.'s museum curator.

She continued, "As our curators note, these spacesuits were actually single-person spacecraft, but while they were designed to endure the punishment of a lunar walk, they weren't designed to last half a century on display."

Neil Armstrong's Lunar Spacesuit Back on Display at Smithsonian
In 2019, 50 years after the Apollo 11 moon landing, Neil Armstrong's spacesuit stands as one of the most significant artifacts in the world. Source: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Like Mike Pence, the United States' vice president, said: "Apollo 11 is the only event in the 20th century that stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century."

Theoretically, in thousands of years, the spacesuit's relevance to the world will only increase.

More than $700,000 raised towards the spacesuit's conservation

It's very clear why conservationists and the museum's curators have taken their work of preserving the spacesuit very seriously, and we're glad they have. 

Neil Armstrong's spacesuit can be found near the 1903 Wright Flyer and is due to be a part of the museum's 2022 exhibit: Destination Moon

It's no easy task preserving the suit. Weighing around 180 pounds and made up of 21 different layers, it cost $100,000 to create back in 1969 -- that equates to roughly $700,000 today. 

The Smithsonian launched a crowdfunding campaign to "reboot the suit," meeting their goal of raising half a million dollars within just five days, and finally raising close to $700,000 in total for the suit.

The conservation process was to specify that specks of moondust are still preserved on the spacesuit. 

The good news for those living many miles away from the Smithsonian, the spacesuit is visible in 3-D for the public online.

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