China displayed its flag attached to the Chang'e 5 spacecraft in a symbolic display of its intention to explore the Moon. They become the first country after the United States planted its first flag on the lunar surface five decades earlier.
The Chinese spacecraft is now making its way back to the Earth carrying its first lunar rock samples. The country's space agency has released a picture showing the fabric flag that weighs 0.4 ounces, standing upright on the windless lunar surface.
The Race Is On
According to a report by UPI, the Chang'e 5 lander has departed the Moon after two days of staying there to collect lunar rock samples, leaving its national flag behind.
In their first two lunar missions, China has brought already two flags but the recent one on Thursday was the first fabric flag, according to the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp. It was a special rod and fabric to survive the conditions of extreme temperature on the Moon.
The Global Times reported that CASIC member Chang Cheng said that the common fabric used here on Earth would not be able to survive the severe lunar environment. In the photo released by China's National Space Administration (CNSA), the Chinese flag stands proudly showing its five stars.
The Chang'e 5 spacecraft landed on the lunar surface last Tuesday, December 1, on a mission to collect lunar rock samples and test how deep are the minerals and water.
According to reports, the site where the Chinese spacecraft explored is considered younger compared to the sites where the American and Soviet spacecraft landed. The country has become the first or to land on the far side of the Moon in 2019 during the Chang'e 4 mission which landed near the Moon's south pole.
Through the rock samples that the Chang'e collected scientists hope to understand and discover the timing of the Moon's formation and the development of its geological features. The last time NASA and the Soviet Union collected rock samples from the Moon was in the late 1970s.
What's In The Flag?
According to CGTN news, the presentation of a specific country's national flag on the lunar surface is unlike what it is here on Earth. A flag that is commonly used here may not be able to survive the harsh conditions of the Moon.
The electromagnetic radiation and huge temperature differences will fade the color of the flag and will decompose it immediately. therefore, the flag to be put on the Moon must be made of something special that once exposed to the conditions of the Moon will still be able to survive.
According to the news outlet, the flag required a unique system to display so scientists had to work hard to slim down the equipment by minimizing its weight to 1 kilogram.
Ultimately, flags planted on the Moon symbolizes each countries' intention to explore further and is also a symbol of pride for a country.
Check out more news and information on Moon Mission on Science Times.