CHINA – As China has planted its flag on the Moon, more than 50 years after the US first planted the Stars and Stripes there.
The pictures from China’s National Space Administration show the five-starred Red Flag holding still on the windless lunar surface.
They were taken by a camera on the Chang’e-5 space probe before it left the Moon with rock samples on Thursday.
Two previous Chinese lunar missions had flags on the crafts’ coatings – so neither could be affixed to the moon.
The US planted the first flag on the Moon during the manned Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Five further US flags were planted on the lunar surface during subsequent missions up until 1972.
In 2012 NASA cited satellite images as showing that five of the flags were still standing, but experts quoted in media reports say they are likely to have been bleached white by the sun’s glare.
The first flag, according to astronaut Buzz Aldrin, was to have been placed too close to the Apollo lunar module, adding that it was probably blown away when the module blasted off.