An American flag was planted on the moon during all six of the Apollo missions that successfully touched down on the lunar surface. According to new photos from NASA’s Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter (LRO), five of those flags are still standing.
According to the BBC, the Apollo 11 flag was knocked over from engine exhaust when the shuttle departed from the surface of the moon.
LROC principal investigator Mark Robinson, said:
“From the LROC images it is now certain that the American flags are still standing and casting shadows at all of the sites, except Apollo 11… Astronaut Buzz Aldrin reported that the flag was blown over by the exhaust from the ascent engine during liftoff of Apollo 11, and it looks like he was correct!”
Space.com reports that several scientists believed that it would be “highly unlikely” for the American flags to still be in tact after more than 40-years. The recent photos from the LRO, however, prove that five of the six flags have survived.
Scientist James Fincannon, of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, wrote:
“Intuitively, experts mostly think it highly unlikely the Apollo flags could have endured the 42 years of exposure to vacuum, about 500 temperature swings from 242 F during the day to -280 F during the night, micrometeorites, radiation and ultraviolet light, some thinking the flags have all but disintegrated under such an assault of the environment.”
Robinson also said that he was surprised to see that the flags were still flying on the moon. Robinson wrote:
“Personally I was a bit surprised that the flags survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the lunar surface, but they did… What they look like is another question (badly faded?).”
Are you surprised that the moon landing flags are still standing?