Nothing lasts forever: Cloud of moon dust will wipe astronaut's footprints from the lunar surface

Nothing lasts forever, not here on Earth, and the same is true for its sidekick, the Moon.

Scientists have discovered a cloud of moon dust hovering over the Moon, and this dust will eventually fill up the footprints left behind by the astronauts.

 Nothing lasts forever: Cloud of moon dust will wipe astronauts footprints from the lunar surface

Moon. AFP image

These specks of dust hang above the moon for only a few minutes before falling back onto the lunar surface. But the nimbus of dust constantly replenishes, forming a permanent feature around the moon, reports USA Today.

"In due time … will fill in craters," says the University of Colorado, Boulder's Mihaly Horanyi in an interview published in USA Today, who led the team that found the dust cloud. "Eventually this will erase the footprints of the astronauts."

The clouds in question are formed when the moon is hit with debris in the wake of a comet.

"The Geminid meteor shower generates shooting stars on Earth, but they can't do that on the moon," said Mihaly Horanyi, a physicist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the first author on the paper in an interview with the Los Angles Times. "They hit the surface on the moon and increase the dust density for a few days."

The cloud was discovered with Nasa's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE. It orbited the moon for six months. During the mission, it recorded 140,000 impacts, reports IBTimes UK.

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Updated Date: Jun 18, 2015 16:30:21 IST