Houston, we have funding!
The Smithsonian's Kickstarter campaign to restore and display the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore when he was the first man to set foot on the moon is a runaway success. This is the first of several crowdfunding attempts by the historical institution, and over $700,000 was pledged by backers. That quite exceeded the $500,000 goal, and hit a stretch goal of restoring another suit — that of Alan Shepherd, the first American in space.
Neither suit was meant to last forever, or even much longer than the mission during which it was used. Gaskets and hoses decay over time, and metal rusts — but with the money from this Kickstarter, the Smithsonian will gussy up the two suits in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
There will be a special exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington called Destination Moon at which all sorts of memorabilia from the space race will be displayed. That's scheduled to open in 2020, but Armstrong's suit will be on show before that for the anniversary.
"Throughout the past 30 days, we’ve been moved by your generous support," the Smithsonian wrote in an update to the campaign. "Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your heartfelt stories. We accomplished this together, and we’ll make sure Neil Armstrong and Alan Shepard’s spacesuits are accessible to inspire generations to come."