Some of the most iconic moments in American history occurred when the Apollo astronauts planted U.S. flags on the lunar surface in the 1960s and 70s.
It’s been nearly 40 years since Apollo 17, the final manned U.S. mission to the moon, left the last of six American flags on the its surface.
What happened to those flags, as well as other pieces of gear left by the Apollo astronauts, is apparently the source of endless fascination for a lot of people.
Questions on the topic are among the most commonly asked of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) mission, which recently took photos of the lunar surface.
Those question have now been answered by high resolution images of the six Apollo landing sites taken by the mission’s Narrow Angle Cameras (NAC).
Images captured by the LROC cameras clearly show, not only the flags, but also the LEM descent stage, the lunar rovers and tracks left on the powdery lunar surface. The flags are still standing, casting shadows on the moon.
“Personally, I was a bit surprised that the flags survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the lunar surface, but they did,” blogged Mark Robinson, the principal investigator of the LROC mission. “What they look like is another question (badly faded?).”
Only the flag planted by the first men on the moon, Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin , is not erect. Back when the two men took off from the lunar surface, Aldrin noticed the flag was blown over by the exhaust from their spacecraft’s engine during liftoff.
To determine whether the flags were still standing, the LROC team examined a timed series of images taken at different periods of the day, paying close attention to the shadows circling the flags.
The images also captured other signs of the astronauts’ presence on the moon, such as the LEM descent stages of the lunar landers and various pieces of equipment used for experiments or exploration.
Among them was the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) or “moon buggy” as it was called, used during three Apollo missions.
Also still there four decades later? Remnants of tracks marking where Armstrong and Aldrin took the first human steps on the moon.
I personally dont believe Lunar landing ever happened. I believe it was a ruse to trick the soviets in to believing that the Americans are the best. All I see are dots which looks like craters;
You are in a place that evidence can never reach. All this personal belief, the twitter and tweet generation.
Hello Mr.Viswanath. It is obvious that you must be another one of Obama’s sons. You may not be a true African American, but you are absolutely a Democrat by both intellect, intelligence, and your brilliant, and inciteful understanding of all things around you. Sometimes I marvel what we all did until you arrived on the scene. In any case, I am convinced by your natural wisdom and higher level thought processes, as only bequeathed to registered Democrats, that with you at the helm, we can all settle down and not worry about the great mysteries of the cosmos, or the economic despair that currently surrounds us. You are in charge, right ?
My opinions exactly, if you replace Democrats with Republicans 🙂
tell the chinese, the moon belongs to the USA ! we’re there first !
ooopps, I forgot… the chinese discovered it several thousands years ago from the ….earth !
The Chinese discovered the Moon by seeing it? That must have been difficult.
Ever be there the USA flag the great sign and brightest symbol of mankind greatest and brilliant innovations for world great developments and universe discoveries. God bless the great nation that has ever been promising the mankind for other more additional magical and admired innovations, the USA!
you are a silly moomoo and the yanks dont own the moomoon Ha ha
Haha. how do you guys believe in USA landing in moon? just look at the flag. its not even flapping. if there is no air in the moon, how’s it flapping.
Hello thanks for writing. I know that there some people over the years have expressed doubt about whether or not man landed on the moon. I refer you to a web piece from NASA themselves.
There is no shadow from the flag on the one shot, early pre-photoshop (die transfer) mistake. The flag had wires in it like a coat hanger to make it appear to be wind blown, like the dive flags in scuba shops.
Um, why are the shadows of the lander and the astronaut behind them, going from left to right in the picture, but the shadow of the flag itself are going in opposite directions, from right to left?
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