What happened to the US flag planted by Apollo astronauts on moon?

Buzz Aldrin
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. flag on the moon jsc.nasa.gov

NASA, the American space agency overpowered the Soviet Union by landing on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. After the historical landing, NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong said, "That is one small step for me, one giant leap for mankind." Later, co-astronaut Buzz Aldrin planted an American flag on the lunar surface.

As Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag, Neil Armstrong captured the visuals of the historical sighting. A post in the NASA website reveals that Buzz Aldrin, in an article written for Life magazine, stated that as he looked at the flag he sensed an "almost mystical unification of all people in the world at that moment."

As per the NASA website, several reports published after the landing suggested that NASA should have chosen to plant the flag of the United Nations instead of the US flag. In a period ranging from 1969 to 1972, NASA has totally planted four US flags.

Now, NASA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing and people are very eager to know whether the flag of the US is still intact on the lunar surface. NASA reveals that intense radiation on the lunar surface and direct sunlight might have deteriorated the nylon flag completely or partially.

As the timeline suggests, the US flag planted by Buzz Aldrin might have been the first to perish in the lunar surface. Satellite pictures taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), in 2012 suggests that flags planted by Apollo 12, Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 might be still there on the moon.

In the meantime, India is launching its Chandrayaan-2 on July 15, and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is planning to land on the dark side of the moon. If this mission becomes a success, India will become the fourth nation to make a soft-landing on the moon and will be the second country ever to touch down on the dark side of the moon.

Related topics : Nasa