July 20, 2015 | By Simon

Among other developments in the additive manufacturing space, the last year has seen a number of critical developments for the near future of space explorations - including both the introduction of 3D printing in zero gravity environments as well as the use of 3D printing to create actual rocket engine components to even get into a zero gravity environment.  As exciting as these recent developments have been, they would not be possible without the foundations laid by earlier space exploration missions - such as the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969.  

Known as one of the single greatest achievements in the history of humankind, the Apollo 11 Moon landing by astronaut Neil Armstrong was the result of years of research and has helped inspire generations of young space explorers since.   

In just four years - July of 2019 - it will have been 50 years since man first set foot on the moon and unsurprisingly, a number of celebrations are being planned for the 50th Anniversary celebration.  Among others who already have celebration plans underway include the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, a museum that “uses the power of real objects to tell stories of the vision, intellect, and courage of men and women who have overcome challenges and pushed boundaries to take the next giant leap for humankind.”  

To date, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum maintains the world's largest and most significant collection of aviation and space artifacts that encompass all aspects of human flight.  With over eight million visitors a year, it is the the most visited museum in the country.

Among other artifacts that the museum has on display include the spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong during his 1969 Moon landing.  In an effort to help share the story of the first Moon landing, the museum has teamed up with Kickstarter to launch a special campaign in an effort to help raise funds to conserve, digitize, and display the suit using 3D technologies leading up to the 50th Anniversary...all the way down to the particles of lunar dust that still cling to its surface.      

“3D scanning the Armstrong spacesuit gives us the chance to put the suit directly into your hands,” says the museum on their Kickstarter page.  

“With a 3D scan of the suit, you can take a self-guided tour and explore the functions of each of the suit’s 21 layers. You can make a 3D print of Armstrong’s glove and slip it over your hand. Teachers will have a dynamic new tool for talking about the technology required for living and working in space. 3D scanning also ensures that our conservators and curators have an accurate picture of the suit in its current condition, helping to monitor and preserve the suit and protect it from further deterioration.”

Although it will be the first time that the suit will be digitized, the Smithsonian’s Digitization team is no stranger to the process of 3D scanning historical artifacts with the goal of preserving them digitally and allowing the public to 3D print and share at home or school.  To date, the team - also known as Smithsonian X 3D - has scanned a number of iconic artifacts under Smithsonian possession including the Wright Flyer and the Bell X-1.  Currently, the team is in the planning stages to scan the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia.   

For the campaign, which starts today, the museum is hoping to both raise awareness about the upcoming anniversary as well as raise $500,000 to help build a climate-controlled display case for the space suit as well as to help cover some of the costs of digitizing it.  

“Through Kickstarter, we are reaching global audiences with the ability to make amazing projects come to life,” said Yoonhyung Lee, director of digital philanthropy at the Smithsonian. “The public will have the chance to directly contribute to specific Smithsonian projects and follow the creative process from fundraising through completion, regardless of their level of support.”

Backers of the project will receive rewards ranging from items such as a Neil Armstrong Spacesuit mission patch or 3-D print of his glove, to a behind-the-scenes experience at the museum or the opportunity to meet an astronaut.

“It’s a privilege to be working with the Smithsonian to get important projects like this out into the world,” said Yancey Strickler, CEO and cofounder of Kickstarter. “This is the first time we’ve teamed up with a museum in this way. We are enormous admirers of the Smithsonian, and we’re thrilled at the opportunity to collaborate with them and to invite new audiences to be a part of their work. I can’t wait to back this project!”

Find out more by heading over to the museum’s Kickstarter page.  


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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krish wrote at 9/4/2016 7:31:47 AM:

its all fake as there is no air in moon so how the flage of america is in that position

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