Wrote several articles about space to local magazines
There were thousands of Armstrong’s footprints on the moon and just as many footprints of Buzz Aldrin, who landed on the moon along with Armstrong.
Most of these footprints were probably lost when the lunar module Eagle took off from the moon to return the astronauts back home. That’s because Armstrong and Aldrin spent most of their time on the lunar surface walking and working next to the lunar module. The exhaust from the ascent stage may have partially or completely wiped their footprints in the areas closer to the LM just like it knocked over the American flag.
But their footprints on other areas not so close to the LM are certainly well preserved. They were too far from the exhaust to be covered by dust. Also, there’s almost no erosion on the lunar surface. Erosion is caused by wind or water acting on a surface (among other less common causes). Since there’s no liquid water or air on the moon, there’s almost no erosion. Other types of erosion like those caused by gravity or meteorite impacts are much slower or rare on the moon. So it’s fair to say that those footprints far from the LM are still there as if they were created yesterday.
And, of course, there are the footprints of the other 10 astronauts who also set foot on the moon on Apollos 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Those missions generated way more footprints than Apollo 11 because they lasted much longer and covered much larger areas of lunar surface.
Studying astronomy on my own since the 1970s
You do realize that 12 astronauts walked on the moon, including Armstrong? There were six successful lunar landing missions. I’m not sure why Armstrong gets all the focus, though he was indeed the first to set foot on the moon.
Anyway, footsteps from Armstrong and the 11 other astronauts who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972 are likely to remain for thousands of years or longer. This is because the moon has no atmosphere: No wind or rain to wash or blow the footprints away. The only thing that could eventually cover the prints would be dust falling onto the moon from space, which might erode the footprints if given enough time.
Still, some scientists think that if left undisturbed, there will still be man-made materials left at the six landing sites even 5 billion years from now when the sun turns into a red giant. The moon is a very placid place.
Thomas E S Thomas
Officer at Securitas Security Services USA
Actually, the first footprints Neil Armstrong made were trampled by the astronauts for three days before they did the formal first steps monument. There's a little plaque and a bootprint next to it.
However, they might also have been buried by dust propelled by the escape rocket firing. The flag may have been knocked over as well.
The LRP (Lunar reconnaissance probe) has taken images of the landing sites, and tire tracks from the Lunar Rovers and the cars themselves are still easily spotted.
B.S. Physics and Astronomy & Computer Science, University of Iowa (1980)
Well, there is no “weather” to speak of, so it won’t get washed away or eroded by rain or wind.
It *might* get covered by the ejecta of a nearby meteor strike, but it would have to be a pretty big meteor or it would have to be fairly close by for the footprint to be completely covered up or destroyed.
former I taught 2ndry Science&Spanish for 40 Years. (1964-2004)
Mainly because, since there is a complete lack of an atmosphere, there is no way a wind or even a breeze can be generated to obliterate the footprints. The only thing that would obliterate them would be a direct hit by an asteroid or a meteorite or if we should happen to land on them with a rocket spewing out gasses to slow down its descent and this is going to be assiduously avoided.
works at East Tennessee State University
No wind. No rain. No momma following behind him with a broom.
There was a bit of localized rocket motor exhaust…
Physics Teacher (1989-present)
No erosion. No weather. We don’t know for sure whether it is still intact though. Could have been a minor impact.
Has made many a mobile suit
The moon has no atmosphere, and therefor no wind and water to erode said foot print.