CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley, who interviewed Neil Armstrong about his experience as the first man to set foot on the moon, is throwing his support behind an effort to help the Smithsonian Institution pay for preservation of the pioneering astronaut’s spacesuit.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum wants to restore the spacesuit in time for the 50th anniversary of Armstrong’s famous 1969 moonwalk and is using the crowdfunding site Kickstarter to help support its efforts.

Malley conducted one of the most comprehensive interviews ever recorded with Armstrong back in 2012 for CPA Australia’s Web site, and said the famous spacesuit reminds us of what can be achieved through innovation (see One Small Step for Neil Armstrong: Addressing an Australian Accounting Group). He managed to score a rare interview with the Apollo 11 astronaut, who died later that year, in part because he knew that Armstrong’s father had been an auditor.

"A few years back I had the extraordinary privilege of spending time with Neil Armstrong,” Malley said in a statement. “He spoke passionately about how vision came together with the science and technology expertise of NASA to enable him and his colleagues to travel to the moon and return home safely. It's a classic example of how STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—is at the heart of all great innovations around the world.  When I saw this week the Smithsonian Institution in the United States launching its first crowdsource funding to raise $500,000 to pay for the conservation of Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, I knew I had to get involved.

"It is the courage, conviction and belief Neil Armstrong and NASA showed by sending a man to the moon that we all should marvel at,” Malley added. “This is the type of inspiration we need for our students so they also look ahead and dare to dream. The conservation of Neil Armstrong's spacesuit, a true symbol of what human endeavor can achieve, is a cause that I am personally supporting.

“I am often asked why Neil Armstrong agreed to be interviewed by an Aussie accountant,” he said. “The answer is our lunchtime meeting in Beaver Creek in Dayton, Ohio, where I lamented that we seemed to have lost touch with his era where the world was then 90 percent vision, 10 percent risk management. I noted that with all the sophistication of today, we have somehow reversed that percentage and encouraged him to share his insights to inspire future generations.

"Neil's spacesuit is emblematic of vision and courage,” Malley added. “Preserving it is a timely reminder that the imbalance between risk management and vision needs to be addressed. Whether it's in America or Australia, we all know that not enough young people are signing-up for STEM subjects, and that a lack of STEM skills is holding back our science and technology capacities and our ability to innovate.

“With the fundraising already past the halfway mark, I am quietly confident we'll get the job done in preserving Commander Armstrong's suit, and that it just may provide inspiration for more young people to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills,” said Malley. “If you would like to join me in supporting this initiative to preserve a true symbol of one of mankind's greatest achievements please visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/smithsonian/reboot-the-suit-bring-back-neil-armstrongs-spacesu/.”