While time might truly be unkind to the exhibit spacesuits ("Time unkind to spacesuits," Jan. 1, Page 1) worn by the pioneering Apollo astronauts on the moon, a gleaming and resilient message can come from the seemingly vexing impression of plastic that the public may be getting due to the decomposing suits. It is this:
Despite the often shrill and largely uninformed claims of the anti-plastic interests worldwide, America — and the world — can safely deduce that without pioneering plastics usage in the 1960s, humankind would no doubt have been unable to safely land on and explore the lunar surface.
While decomposing that is visibly occurring for all to see at the Smithsonian may allow the anti-plastic forces to relish with glee the obvious "proof" that plastics are no good, it ought to be forcefully and clearly pointed out that more advances in plastics technology, usage and durability have occurred since the era that saw these suits made than can be imagined. I have a firm suspicion that any cloth or cotton coat worn by Patriots during the American Revolution has not and will not fare a whole lot better in terms of its remaining in its original condition.
The message that can be credibly conveyed from this story is that plastics of the type used in this long-bygone era may truly be unstable in the long term, but they fulfilled President Kennedy´s original mandate to, "before this decade is out," send a man to the moon — and safely return him to earth.
Jon F. Weinstein
Apex Plastic Industries Inc.