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Fact Check-Apollo 11 astronauts left their space boots on the moon

Users have been comparing a photograph of U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit with a photograph of a footprint on the moon and falsely claiming that the moon landing must have been faked due to the boot’s sole and footprint not matching. In reality, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s boots were left on the moon when they returned from the 1969 mission.

Examples can be seen here and here .

The text in one post reads: “Can someone fact check this .. Hey …Neil Armstrong’s astronaut suit, preserved in a museum …doesn’t match up with his footprints on the moon!”

As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he stepped on the dusty surface, Armstrong said: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” (here)

The photograph of the suit seen in the posts does show Armstrong’s space suit. It was taken by astronomer and author Phil Plait and featured in a Slate article on July 20, 2015 (here). Plait also posted a photo of himself with the suit on his Twitter page (here).

The photograph of the footprint shows astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s boot print on the surface of the moon (here). The bottom of the boots visible in photos here and here , showing the striped sole matching the footprint.

Photographs of the shoes leaving the threaded footprints can be seen here and here .

These original boots worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts were left on the moon because of weight concerns. (here). A list of items the astronauts left behind during the Apollo 11 mission can be seen here and here , including the boots.

Astronaut Michel Lopez-Alegria posted about the boots on his Twitter page on July 17, 2021 (here), saying: “#DidYouKnow Neil Armstrong’s moon boots are still on the moon, and it wasn't an accident. He left them in order to compensate for the additional weight brought back by collecting moon rocks. #Countdown #Apollo50”

The boots worn by the astronauts on Apollo 17 were brought back to Earth and have the same type of thread on the soles, here .

An article by the New York Times discusses the creation of the boots, here .

VERDICT

Missing context. The photograph of the space suit does not include the boots Apollo 11 astronauts wore on the moon that left the famous striped-thread footprint. The boots were left behind on the moon due to weight concerns aboard the lunar landing vehicle.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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