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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Apollo 11: Preservation of the first lunar footprint

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Author Topic:   Apollo 11: Preservation of the first lunar footprint
moorouge
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Posts: 1525
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 08-26-2012 07:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the sad passing of Neil Armstrong, it occurs to me to wonder if his iconic first footprint on the Moon's surface still exists.

Did the crew make a conscious effort to work round it, or was it obliterated as they moved round the LM during activities near the ladder at the end of the EVA?

I wonder if Buzz Aldrin has the answer.

ilbasso
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Posts: 1500
From: Greensboro, NC USA
Registered: Feb 2006

posted 08-26-2012 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I doubt they would have been able to identify it by the end of the EVA. There was a lot of activity around the foot pad especially at the end, when they were transferring the samples and other items back up to the cabin.

The astronauts could not really see their feet or where they were walking (e.g., getting Neil almost tripping over the TV camera cable several times, or John Young accidentally pulling out the heat flow probe cable on Apollo 16). I think it would have been impossible for them to pay attention to the First Step bootprint and still get their work done.

Another question is, did the test of the RCS engines and the ascent engine blast blow much dust over the bootprints?

moorouge
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Posts: 1525
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 08-26-2012 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think you're probably correct. Nevertheless, if one goes to Plymouth, Mass. there you'll find preserved behind iron grating and masonry the rock used by the Founding Fathers to first step into their New World. It does greatly help the tourist trade as visitors flock to have their picture taken by it. However, despite what the inscription says, don't believe it to be the genuine article.

This said, I can't help but wonder if some future enterprising tourist entrepreneur might encase a planted boot and claim it was the first step taken as man explored worlds outside his own planet.

Skyguy48
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Posts: 82
From: Scotland
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 09-03-2013 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Skyguy48   Click Here to Email Skyguy48     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Knowing the historical significance of his first boot print, I wonder if NASA would have asked the crew to somehow "preserve" that boot print by not disturbing it.

On the grainy film of Armstrong stepping off the pad he appeared to step to the left side of the pad which could have been easily avoided by both astronauts returning to the LM. Am I being trivial or would that boot print be the crown jewel for the "Lunar National Park" idea that the U.S. government has in the future?

Editor's note: Threads merged.

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 09-03-2013 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Skyguy48:
Knowing the historical significance of his first boot print, I wonder if NASA would have asked the crew to somehow "preserve" that boot print by not disturbing it.
I can't imagine anyone would have seriously told Armstrong and Aldrin to preserve the first footprint, especially considering where it was, as the base of the LM. There's no way they could have even seen it, let alone find a way to avoid stepping on it.

Besides, that was the first of many steps that was planned, many people thought we'd have colonies on the Moon by now, back then...

dabolton
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Posts: 229
From: Round Lake, IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 09-03-2013 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are we even sure that footprint remains after the ascent module engines blasted them away.

Lou Chinal
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Posts: 961
From: Staten Island, NY
Registered: Jun 2007

posted 09-03-2013 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like a myth busters program to me.

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