China becomes second nation after US to plant flag on the Moon | The Daily Star
08:43 PM, December 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:49 PM, December 05, 2020

China becomes second nation after US to plant flag on the Moon

China has planted its flag on the Moon, becoming only the second nation to do so after the US, reports BBC.

The US planted the first flag on the Moon in 1969 during the manned Apollo 11 lunar mission. Later five more US flags were planted on the Moon during subsequent missions till 1972.

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More than 50 years later, China has become only the second country to achieve the feat, according to the BBC report.

Pictures from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) show the five-starred Red Flag holding still on the windless lunar surface, BBC reports.

China's Chang'e-5 space probe's camera took the images on Thursday before it left the Moon surface with rock samples.  

The Chinese flag was a reminder of the "excitement and inspiration" felt during the US Apollo missions, China's state-run Global Times newspaper said.

The flag is 2m wide and 90cm tall and weighs about a kilogramme. All parts of the flag have been given features such as protection against cold temperatures, project leader Li Yunfeng told the Global Times.

"An ordinary national flag on Earth would not survive the severe lunar environment," said project developer Cheng Chang.

The fabric flag was unfurled by the Chang'e-5 lander vehicle just before its ascender vehicle took off using the lander as a launchpad.

The probe took soil and rock samples from the Moon and has been on its way to China's lunar orbiter 15km (nine miles) above the lunar surface -- which will then be enclosed in a module aimed at China's Inner Mongolia region.

The Chang'e-5 mission is China's third successful lunar mission in seven years, according to the BBC report.

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