Why Footprints On Moon Don’t Match Armstrong’s Boots


Horrible News

That morning she prepared for an uneventful day. But the next she knew she was in her director’s office waiting for his response. She had to share the news with him immediately.

The story they spent years on perfecting was at risk of being disintegrated into nothing. She couldn’t believe this all was happening because of some silly article.


Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Lisa Thurman grinned as she made herself some herbal tea and prepared for her workday.

For as long as she could remember she loved space. Some people viewed it as a black pit of nothingness, but not to Lisa. She looked at space and all she could see was infinite possibilities. It did not surprise anybody when she decided to work on the job longer than most other people.

Better Than The Old Ones

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She was busy inspecting some fabric with her new microscope.

She was ecstatic about the new lab equipment. She could even zoom in with the new microscope! As she was inspecting the spacesuit, something troubling caught her eye.


Smithsonian National Air and Space Mus

The first issue was that the area’s deterioration necessitated obtaining new x-rays and conducting further tests in order to accurately document the worn region.

The second issue was significantly more serious. It was something she really wanted to avoid no matter what. She would rather be punched a hundred times than deal with this problem.

More Funding


The bosses had screened her in order for her to have access to “secret” material. The interview was the most nerve-wracking experience she’d ever had.

However, that meeting was a breeze compared to what she was experiencing now. She needed access to more funding. She sighed in frustration.


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Lisa sighed in frustration. She found it ridiculous that the National Air Space Museum did not prioritize the conservation of Neil Armstrong’s suit.

Because of this, she had to get down on her knees and beg for money. It was an unfortunate aspect of her profession. In a matter of minutes, her day was turned upside down.



The idea of hosting yet another fundraiser made her sick to her stomach. Her thoughts were interrupted by her coworker storming into her office.

He handed her his phone and showed her an article. She skimmed through the article and with each word she read her brows furrowed even more.

Light Bulb


“You’re joking,” she said stunned by what she read.

“Nope,” her co-worker said with frustration. This always happened. Rumors about the moon landing had been circulating for as long as she could remember. But then she had an idea.

New Information


It took them years to perfect the story. They had no other choice, they needed to keep the public’s attention. It was a daunting task for them but this opened a lot of doors for them.

The information this article shared was exactly what she needed. She had to get to the director’s office immediately.

Heard It All

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She arrived at the director’s office and instantly showed him the article. She was smiling ear to ear as the director was reading it.

It was yet another conspiracy regarding the moon landing. It was nothing new but this article was especially focused on footprints and boots. This made the people talk, a lot…

Using It To Their Advantage


She wasn’t all that surprised when rumors flew around the internet.

What really shocked her was people were just noticing this now?! “We can use this!” she said, jittering with excitement tapping on the hundreds of thousands of views and countless comments across several posts. “Let’s give them what they want.”

Mixed Feelings


On one hand, Lisa felt like skipping back to her office like a child playing hopscotch. But on the other hand, she woed at the fact people was so quick to believe what some joe-shmo ranted about.

Still, this was her chance. She was going to blow their minds. But she would need to nab a crucial piece of history from its display.

In Safe Storage

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Neil Armstrong’s moon-mission spacesuit hadn’t been seen for 13 years.

They had exhausted their cataloging with the tech that was available at the time and had put it in protective storage. But with new advancements (the ones Lisa was drooling over as she performed) they could bring it out again.

Fake News!

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The viral post compared two photographs, one of the undersides of Armstrong’s boots, the other of the iconic first footprint on the moon’s surface.

The image was captioned: “Do you think the moon landing was real? This is Neil Armstrong’s astronaut suit, preserved in a museum. It clearly doesn’t match up with his footprints on the moon. Now you decide whether the moon landing was real or a hoax.” Lisa was ready to “fight” back.

Gathering Ammunition


Her first stop was to the archives to get the footwear that had netizens in a buzz.

The next part, however, was going to be insanely challenging. Lisa begged her boss to let their team spread the entire suit out along the table – which was tricky because many pieces were degrading and delicate.

Let’s Do This!

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It was time to show the world.

Even though it was old and wearing away, the complete set was still very heavy. They heaved and grunted to get everything in place so they could snap a few photos. Lisa took a deep breath, pulled up the NASA social media feed, and uploaded the truth.

Yep, No Match


“The photo you’re seeing isn’t Neil Armstrong’s footprint. If you want to see his boots, I’m afraid you’ll have to take a very long trip.”

But that wasn’t the end of the explanation. Lisa felt a surge of excitement. It was so rare to get people’s attention like this. She was about to kill two birds with one stone.

Big Oopsie


Many people know the iconic photo as documentation of the moment when Neil Armstrong steps on the moon and says: “That’s one small step for man… one giant leap for mankind.”

Captions to the image of the footprint in encyclopedias and magazine articles often say something like: “Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon.” So, what did Lisa’s teasing message mean?

Texture Photos


“Actually, that’s Buzz Aldrin’s foot, and the solo boot print is his, not Armstrong’s. Aldrin took these shots around one hour after Armstrong took his first steps as he was documenting textures.”

In other words, countless writers and journalists in the past 50 years have mislabeled or miscaptioned these photographs. But what about the tread pattern in the footprint that was not on the astronauts’ boots?

Two Boots


The snippets of information had readers in a frenzy, demanding to know what was going on.

“The distinct tread is part of an ‘outer boot.’ Armstrong’s suit only has the inner boot left. To bring back samples, they had to leave some stuff behind.” Lisa readied her fingers for the final truth bomb.

More Shock And Awe

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“But that’s not the real, shocking truth.”

“The reality is that the world might lose what little we brought back. We’re on the verge of watching our history crumble before our very eyes.” She went on to describe the preservation and cataloging processes …

We Need Help

Smithsonian National Air and Space Mus

They needed to take x-rays inside the suit because they couldn’t take it apart.

They also had to preserve the rubber attachments and create a special framework so they could mount them in the museum. And that was just a fraction of the task list. Next was digitization. They just weren’t high enough on the government spending list to get funds.

For The World To Enjoy

Smithsonian National Air and Space Mus

They wanted a digital version people could interact with. Lisa desperately wanted the suit to be ready for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Their “Reboot the
Suit” campaign ended up exploding across the internet.

But would the sudden burst of public interest be enough to cover the hefty $500,000 bill?

Target Met!

Smithsonian National Air and Space Mus

They made their half a million and more!

Lisa giggled with glee. She could keep working on the project and the job she loved. And it was all thanks to some wonderful nuts out there who decided to bring up another crazy space conspiracy. But with the museum’s feed still getting lots of attention, she dished out some more amazing facts…

4 Days Of Travel


The Apollo 11 Saturn V lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 09:36 on 16 July 1969 carrying three astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin.

The journey to the Moon would last 4 days, 6 hours, and 45 minutes, finally landing on 20 July 1969.



Before landing, a series of alarm messages sounded that none of the astronauts had previously heard.

The alarms were caused by ‘executive overflows’ because of the guidance computer not being able to complete all of its tasks and having to postpone some of them. After checking the alarm, computer technicians on the ground reassured the crew that it was safe to land.

Wrong Spot

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Due to the gravity of the Moon and some extra speed gained, Armstrong and Aldrin had missed the landing site by about 4 miles and were instead faced with an unfriendly sight of rough terrain and bus-sized craters.

They were forced to find a new landing site fast.

No Pressure, Right?

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Dwindling fuel supplies (just 5% fuel remaining) meant that Armstrong would have a mere 60 seconds to land the lunar module before having to abort the mission.

“We heard the call of 60 seconds, and a low-level light came on. That, I’m sure, caused concern in the control center… They probably normally expected us to land with about two minutes of fuel left. And here we were, still a hundred feet [30 m] above the surface, at 60 seconds,” recalled Armstrong.

Personal Gratitude

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Upon landing on the Moon, Aldrin gave thanks for his safety by taking communion. But he took it privately.

His communion kit was prepared by the Pastor of his Presbyterian church, who still has the chalice used on the Moon.

Nearly A Day On The Moon

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Armstrong was the first man to step onto the Moon, followed 20 minutes later by Aldrin.

Of the 21 hours and 36 minutes spent on the Moons surface, Armstrong and Aldrin spent 2.5 hours outside the module collecting data, setting up experiments, and taking pictures.

Huge Audience

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An estimated 650 million people watched Armstrong and Aldrin become the first men on the Moon, bearing witness to a historic event that will be remembered for years to come. From the lunar module on the Moon, Aldrin reflected on the enormity of the occasion:

“This is the [lunar module] pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”

Too Expensive

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In total, 12 men have walked on the Moon in 6 NASA missions.

These missions ran over three years ending in 1972. Since 1972 no other crewed mission has landed on the Moon, this is largely due to the huge costs involved. The whole Apollo program cost an estimated $25.4 billion (about $156 billion in 2019 dollars)

First Flight Meets Space Flight

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The first recorded flight was achieved by the Wright Brothers in 1903, 66 years before the first manned lunar mission.

Neil Armstrong saw it fit to take with him pieces of wood from the pioneering Wright plane as well as a piece of fabric from the plane to symbolize the great progress made in aviation.

Two Speeches

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The mission had such a large risk of failing, in fact, that President Richard Nixon had a speech at the ready in case of catastrophe.

As nobody had ever once landed on the Moon, it was not known whether or not it was even possible to take off from the Moon to return back to Earth.

Leaving Mementos

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The astronauts left several items on the surface of the Moon, including pictures of human beings as well as audio recordings of several different languages to represent the global significance of the mission.

Medallions bearing names of the three astronauts who perished in Apollo 1 on the launch pad and the two cosmonauts who perished in a similar accident were all left on the surface of the Moon as well.