Contributors have raised N143 million to restore the suit Neil Armstrong wore to the moon

A total of 9,477 people contributed to the month-long Kickstarter "Reboot the Suit" campaign, which blazed past its $500,000 goal on July 24.

Neil Armstrong is the first human being ever to step foot on the moon. He died in 2009.

Popular American museum, The Smithsonian's first attempt at online crowdfunding ended Wednesday after it raised a hefty $719,779 to restore the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore when he walked on the moon.

A total of 9,477 people contributed to the month-long Kickstarter"Reboot the Suit" campaign, which blazed past its $500,000 goal on July 24.

"It is mind-blowing," the Smithsonian's director of digital philanthropy, Yoonhyung Lee, told AFP in an interview at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in downtown Washington. "We did not really expect to both hit our goal so quickly and also to exceed our goal so dramatically. This was a huge triumph for us."

This is the first time The Smithsonian has turned to crowdfunding for resources to cover the cost of preserving its most valuable artifacts from the ravages of time.

The campaign kicked off on July 20, the 46th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing and coincidentally ended with the American National Aviation Day.

With the cash it’s raised, the Smithsonian is now aiming to have Armstrong's white spacesuit and helmet ready for public viewing by the 50th anniversary in 2019.

"The suit is pretty fragile,” the Smithsonian curator tasked with overseeing its three-year restoration project, Lisa Young told AFP. "It's reaching about its 50-year lifespan right now. A lot of its materials were made for temporary use to get to the moon and back."

"We see the rubber getting a little bit brittle. The interior portions that the public doesn't see are what's really the most fragile," she said.

According to a report by NDTV Gadgets, layers of polymers were used to create the suit, but back in the 1960s scientists had no idea how long they would last, Young explained. "Natural materials tend to last longer," she said.

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