The Lander’s Exhaust Plume and Its Crater

  • Thomas Eversberg
Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)


As the Lunar Module approached the Moon, it slowed down its descent by using a landing engine that generated a thrust of 45,000 Newtons. This amount of thrust corresponds to a weight of 27 tons on the Moon. After blasting the dusty surface of the Moon with so much force from landing the Lunar Module, surely you would expect there to be a crater created by the engine’s exhaust plume. However, such a crater is nowhere to be found. This is confirmed in pictures from different missions where the ground below the descent stage is shown, even though astronauts reported the surface material to be as fine as flour. This results in the corresponding argument: Obviously, they forgot to include an exhaust crater in the studio, even though a retrorocket engine firing hot gases into the landing area with several tons of force would have certainly made such a crater.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Eversberg
    • 1
  1. 1.German Space AgencyBonnGermany

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