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article imageNeil Armstrong's spacesuit saved using 3D scanning

By Tim Sandle     Jul 13, 2019 in Technology
Neil Armstrong's historic spacesuit has been saved from decay using the latest 3D scanning technology. The protective garment worn by the astronaut has been restored using light scanning and 3D mapping.
The slow and painstaking exercise of mapping out the spacesuit worn by Armstrong when he set foot on the Moon in 1969 has been completed ahead of the July 20 anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission launch and the landing of the Eagle lunar module. Armstrong's suit, along with those of Michael Collins and Buzz (Edwin) Aldrin, was held in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. However, nothing, not even spacesuits designed to keep astronauts alive under harsh conditions, lasts forever.
Due to the risk of further damage to Armstrong's spacesuit, the clothing and helmet was removed from display in 2006. As Wired reports, when museum curators looked at the clothing, in 2015, with a view to putting back on display for a short period to mark the 50th anniversary they quickly assessed the state of degradation and realized that the clothing would not last much longer. This was despite the suit being held in a climate-controlled collections storage area. The solution was to use digital technology to create a scan and replica.
Even though 3D scanning has advanced, the process remains relatively expensive and it needs to be performed slowly and carefully. To support the project, he museum launched a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was a success, hitting 9,477 backers and raising in excess of $700,000.
The video below explains about the work of the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office:
The money has been used to create the most detailed digital image of the suit possible, using a combination of 3D scanning, photogrammetry, chemical analysis, Computed Tomography scanning, and other means available to map the suit. To give an idea of the complexity, the suit has 21 layers of material, each of which needed to be scanned and digitized. To begin with, around fifty X-ray images were used to record the suit's condition and investigate its inner workings.
The output will form the centerpiece of the museum's upcoming Destination Moon exhibition, set for launch in 2022.
More about Neil armstrong, Space, Moon landing, 3D printing
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