Cleaning the Air and Space Museum’s Lunar Lander


Smithsonian Mag’s Around the Mall has a look at the cleanup of the Air and Space Museum’s Apollo Lunar Module #2 in preparation for the upcoming 40th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing:

When I stopped by, interns in the museum’s conservation department were on ladders shining the module’s metal parts as Paul Fjeld, the contractor for the project, and Amanda Young, a museum specialist, worked on removing the foil, which they then used as templates for cutting the new sheets. Bits of gold foil littered the floor below. It was like Christmas morning for Allan Needell, curator in the division of space history.

“I’ve never seen what’s underneath the foil, and I’ve been here 25 years,” said Needell, who pointed out where an antenna, then covered, caused the foil to bulge.

Here’s an image from NASM of the restoration in progress.

Historical Sticklers Society Now, before historical sticklers (such as myself) get pants all up in a bunch over tearing precious ancient gold foil from the LEM, it must be stressed that this is not an actual lunar lander returned from the moon; LEM #2 was built for an unmanned Earth-orbital test which was later cancelled in favor of actually going to the moon already. This LEM was used for ground tests, then part of it spent Expo ’70 in Osaka, then it was all reassembled and modified to look more like Apollo 11’s Eagle for display at the Smithsonian. So it’s okay for restorers to pull bits of stuff off it; they’re not sullying the handprints of Neil and Buzz.

These peeps approve:

Peeps Apollo 11 @artomatic

Roving Asian mendicant, can occasionally be seen wandering the streets of downtown Washington, muttering unintelligible gibberish to passers-by while pushing a “bag lady” shopping cart full of old blankets, American flags, soda cans, and healthy secondhand snacks from organic food shop dumpsters. Used to live in a cardboard box at 16th and K but the rent was too expensive.

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