1969 was the year when the man arrived for the first time on the Moon. Neil Armstrong was the first person in history to set foot on the surface of our natural satellite, which represented an authentic milestone in the history of humanity.
The lunar surface is made out of a layer named regolith, formed by a mixture of dust, small rocks and other elements, accumulated over billions of years. This makes it easy to leave the footprints of the astronauts visible on the Moon. As we will see in this article, these footprints haven’t yet disappeared, and they will surely exist for a long time to come.
Why don’t they get wiped away?
On the Earth, it is very common to have wind, rain, storms, floods, or recycling of the Earth’s mantle. All these phenomena provoke the erosion of rocks and mountains, changing over time the landscapes of the Earth.
However, the moon hasn’t got an atmosphere, for which all these meteorological phenomena don’t take place. So, the astronauts’ footprints haven’t been able to get erased in all this time.
Will they disappear at some point?
Even if the Moon isn’t subject to the same climatic conditions as the Earth, the lack of atmosphere exposes it to other dangers, such as the impact of meteorites or the solar wind.
The constant impact of meteorites on our natural satellite makes the regolith elevate from the surface. Over time, this could cover up the footprints of the astronauts, even if this process would take a very long time.
On the other hand, the solar wind is a continuous stream of very energetic particles that come from the Sun. On Earth, we are protected from them thanks to the magnetic field, but the Moon doesn’t have any ways to deviate it. Although the short-term effects of the solar wind on our satellite aren’t appreciable, over millions of years they could potentially make the footprints of the astronauts disappear.