Before Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong stepped off the lunar module ladder to plant a boot on the Moon, he leaned down and looked at the lander’s footpads to see how far they had settled into the powder-like ground at Tranquility Base. Besides assuaging a lingering operational concern that the regolith at the landing spot would be too thick to walk through, Armstrong’s observation that the legs sank only an inch or two into the dust marked the start of Apollo’s lunar ...

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