Robot satellites taking pictures three billion miles from Earth are pretty thrilling.
But robot satellites aren’t people, and there’s no plan to ever bring them back.
On this day in 1969 though, human beings themselves were walking on the surface of the moon—for hours on end. They learned to walk and maneuver in low gravity. They carried equipment. They did experiments. They took pictures and left footprints. And they came home.
The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is now launching a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter to raise money for the preservation and display of a suit that made all that possible.
Currently stashed away in a storage facility, the suits that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore on the moon look like they should: like work suits, covered in dust, with wear and tear showing that they were used and used well.
Today, the suits still look good, but time is taking their toll. If we want future generations to look on them with interest, awe, or admiration, the way we might view an old suit of armor or delicately woven textile, it’s going to take some work.
It’s not only the suits that went to the moon which we are lucky enough to have around.
We also have some of the human beings. Michael Collins, who manned the orbiter for the Apollo 11 mission, is 84 and has continued to work supporting science and exploration at the Smithsonian, National Geographic, and other groups and companies. Buzz Aldrin is 85 and fiercely dedicated to advancing the mission of landing human beings on Mars. Not more robots. People. People who can come back and tell stories machines can’t.
Between 1968 and 1972, 24 humans traveled to the moon and 12 of them walked on its surface, eight of whom are still alive today. No one’s been back since 1972.
Recently Buzz shared some of his own stories with us during a Google+Hangout about “Risk Takers.” Sit back, relax, and talk to a man who’s been to the moon: