Are Neil Armstrong's footprints still perfectly preserved on the moon?

There being no lunar atmosphere to blow the dust around, are the footprints going to be there indefinitely?

Would gravity, or maybe the motion of the moon, cause the dust to settle over time?

Yes. The prints are likely to last for millions of years. The likely source of destruction of the prints would be a meteor impact (whether direct or nearby impact).

What about moonquakes?

The moon has no seismic activity.

Band name!

Y’all have it all wrong: they were obliterated on July 2, 1996.

How about micrometeorites? According to this NASA page, those are what caused the lunar surface to be the way it is anyway. Won’t future impacts of micrometeorites erase the footprints?

I’ve been wondering this for a while:

Wouldn’t the ascent engine of the lander have obliterated them when it took off from the surface?

Micrometeorites deposit about 3mm of dust per million years.

After the first step, did Armstrong and Aldrin make an effort to preserve the first footprint?

As for Bernse’s question: the ascent stage of the LM takes off using the descent stage as a platform, maybe that provided some protection? In a vacuum, the exhaust gases meet no atmospheric obstruction, but on the other had, there is no “swirling” effects in the air (because there is no air) I’m not sure if that would help or hurt in this situation.

<Looks at watch, stares at footprint on ground, taps foot>


Possibly the ones near the lem but they sometimes traveled quite far from the lem (later missions traveled the furthest.)

Armstrong & Aldrin didn’t travel very far from the LM in under two hours of moonwalking. Armstrong did go as far as one crater 60 meters away. Are his tracks out to that point still there to this day?

I say, let’s go there and find out!

I’d like to see a reliable and current cite for that number.
A search on “lunar regolith” gardening reveals a variety of processes, including meteroid impact, slumping, suspension of charged powders etc. that could affect the lifetime of Armstrong’s footprints. I’ve seen lifetime estimates as low as a few hundred years, but can’t find them online. Anyone ?

OK, so could one then say the most important one, the first is almost certainly gone?

Well, this site says:

New Scientist:

It figures a complete dust turnover in about 10,000 years.

The Apollo program tested the moon for seismic activity and found that it has some weak “moonquakes.” Some come from the impact of meteroites, but others seem to come from tidal stresses. At any rate, they seem to have found enough measurable activity to make conclusions about the internal structure of the moon’s core.

From What’s New on the Moon?

See also: Apollo 12 Passive Seismic Experiment

The fellows at LunaCorp are getting ready to get a new look:

Here’s the source for accumulation due to micrometeorites. Sorry, I couldn’t find a public copy available on the web…

Time Scale for the Micrometeorite and Solar Flare Maturation of Lunar Soils
Poupeau, G.; Johnson, J.
Abstracts of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, volume 7, page 709, (1976)
Publication Date:
Lunar Science
Bibliographic Code: