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Pics/Vids: China unfurls national flag on the moon

Chinese flag, Beijing, China. (Daderot/Wikimedia Commons)
December 04, 2020

China successfully unfurled the first cloth Chinese national flag on the moon during the country’s Chang’e 5 lunar mission, its state-run media announced Thursday.

Global Times reported that the China National Space Administration created a presentation system that allowed the cloth flag to be unfurled once the spacecraft carrying the flag had touched down on the lunar surface.

An image of the flag reportedly flying on the moon was tweeted by Global Times on Friday.

The Global Times shared a simulation of the system late Thursday which showed the flag popping up along the side of the spacecraft.

The flag display system, which mimics systems already used for solar panel extension on satellites and other spacecraft, was developed under the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation by China Space Sanjiang Group.

“The Chinese national flag shines an even brighter red from the moon, and from now on it will be a grand reminder for stargazers from all over the world of the excitement and inspiration we felt from Apollo missions more than half a century ago,” the state-run media outlet stated. “Right before the lift-off of Chang’e-5’s ascender from the lunar surface, the lander vehicle of the Chinese spacecraft unfolded the five-star red national flag, a genuine one made from fabrics, marking a first in the country’s aerospace history.”

The media outlet stated that the flag is about 79 inches wide and 35 inches tall, designed with “cutting edge technology” which allows it to keep its color and shape in the extreme extraterrestrial environment almost 240,000 miles away.

“An ordinary national flag on Earth would not survive the severe lunar environment, so the research team also spent more than a year selecting the proper materials to make sure the eventual flag would be strong enough, survive under extreme coldness and heat and capable of showing the fine colors of the national flag and remain so forever,” said Cheng Chang, one of the team’s leading developers.

According to NASA, there are currently six American flags on the moon.