Science & Environment

Bid to preserve Armstrong Moon suit

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Media captionCathy Lewis, Space Suit Curator at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, said the suit is "a very complex machine"

The US National Air and Space Museum has turned to crowdfunding to conserve the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore on the Moon.

The museum aims to raise $500,000 (£320,000) on Kickstarter to help safeguard the suit and build a climate-controlled display case.

Conservators say the suits were built for short-term use with materials that break down over time.

They also plan to digitise the suit using 3D scanning.

The suit used by Armstrong on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 is deteriorating and hasn't been displayed for nine years.

"In 2006, we decided to give it a rest, to take it off display and put it in our state-of-the-art storage, which is at a low temperature and low humidity, to preserve it and figure out how to get those climate-controlled conditions from storage into a display case," said Cathy Lewis, spacesuit curator at the Washington DC-based museum.

She added: "The suit itself is a very complex machine. It's made of many different materials - about 12 different types of textiles and fabrics that have been combined together in one.

"To preserve or conserve any single one of those textiles would be very easy, but then we would have to take the suit apart and we're not going to do that."

The museum plans to display it for the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing.

Later, it hopes the suit will be the centerpiece in Destination Moon, a new gallery set to open in 2020.