Forty-six years ago a six year old boy was given permission by his parents to stay up to watch the televised broadcast of a truly astounding event. The little boy was me; the event was Neil Armstrong stepping out of the lunar lander and becoming the first human to walk on the moon and the first person to walk on any celestial body other than the Earth.
It quite literally set the tone for my life. After that I dreamed, like so many, of becoming an astronaut, of flying into space, visiting other planets, being an explorer. Boldly going and all the rest of it.
It provided me with a lifelong fascination with science, and space especially.I follow science and space news with a voracity that often knows no distractions. It led me to the wonderful worlds of science-fiction cin books, movies and TV shows and (eventually) brought me to writing my own SF stories where I could dream even more vividly about the future. The six year old boy still lives inside, staring out at the universe with a sense of wonder (and sometimes frustration.)
Like so many people that shared my dream, I never got to live that life for real. Out of all of humanity, only twelve people have ever set foot on a planet beyond the Earth, all of them on our moon. Indeed, only around five-hundred people have ever reached space from a current population of around seven billion.
So, the events of July 21st, 1969 are pretty momentous to say the least, from both a personal and a human level. Which makes it so sad to hear that Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit from that that mission is slowly deteriorating, despite the fact that it is no longer on display and has been stored by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for many years in an attempt to better preserve it.
Four years from now will see the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, which to me seems astonishing. It still feels like it was just “a few years back.” As part of the anniversary celebrations the Smithsonian is looking for help. They want to fully restore and preserve Neil Armstrong’s space suit and also return it to display so people can see the actual suit that protected Armstrong during his first “small steps”.
Naturally a project like that isn’t cheap and the Smithsonian hasn’t the funds to be able to take it on without some help. So they’re running a kickstarter campaign, “Reboot The Suit“, to raise money to do the work needed.
I’ve made a donation to the project and look forward to seeing “The Suit” at some day in the future when I revisit the Smithsonian.
I feel it deserves this for a lifetime of inspiration. For me and all the other children who looked up at the moon and stars and dreamed.