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Moon NASA Science

Images Show Apollo Moon Flags Still Standing 206

TheNextCorner writes "Images taken by a NASA spacecraft show that the American flags planted in the Moon's soil by Apollo astronauts are mostly still standing. Each of the Apollo missions planted an American flag in the soil at their landing sites. Scientists had previously examined photos of the Apollo landing sites for the flags, and had seen what looked like shadows cast by them on the lunar surface. Now, researchers have studied photos of the landing sites taken at different points during the day (and under different illuminations) and have observed shadows circling the points where the flags are thought to be."
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Images Show Apollo Moon Flags Still Standing

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  • Re:Fuck Apple! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dins (2538550) on Monday July 30, 2012 @03:49PM (#40822127)
    Warning: Link above is gay porn...
  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday July 30, 2012 @04:01PM (#40822273) Homepage
    AIUI, the flag is actually hanging from a thin, stiff rod that holds it up. If it weren't for that, it would always have been hanging down.
  • Re:Amazing! (Score:5, Informative)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Monday July 30, 2012 @04:02PM (#40822281)

    You joke, but (IIRC) the Apollo 11 flag was accidentally knocked over during lift-off (rocket engines, unsurprisingly, generate "wind"). They tried to plant the flags further from the craft during later missions, but I guess they were never 100% sure it didn't happen again (I'm about to RTFA to find out).

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday July 30, 2012 @04:03PM (#40822305)

    As I recall (being old enough to have watched the whole thing on TV as a kid) - the moon flags have a rigid frame behind the fabric. Assuming the flag itself is made from actual fabric, which I don't remember. Anyway, the flags would not wave in a breeze.

    It would be interesting to revisit the sites and see what kind of shape the flags are in - if there are holes punched through them, for instance.

  • by ckhorne (940312) on Monday July 30, 2012 @04:20PM (#40822455)

    Not even Hubble can resolve that from LEO: http://hubblesite.org/reference_desk/faq/answer.php?id=77&cat=topten [hubblesite.org]

  • Re:But...but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2012 @04:34PM (#40822573)

    Because the radiation levels are not as high or as lethal as many would have you believe.

    The van Allen belts, to begin with, are regions of highly energetic particle radiation. Particle radiation can be shielded by quite thin sheets of light metals such as aluminium and plastics. Guess what the Apollo spacecraft was made from.... In addition, the belts are ust that: belts. Space trave is a 3-dimensional problem, and it is quite simple to arrange the flight path from Earth to the Moon such that it passes over or under the most intense areas of the belts. Thirdly, the passage through the belts was during the phase of the journey when they were travelling at their fastest, (20-25,000 mph), so they were not in them for long.

    Cosmic and solar radiation is also largely particle radiation. The EM radiation such as gamma rays and X-rays is not high out there and can be easily attentuated by their spacesuits and spacecraft and endured for the short time they were on the Moon.

    Radiation is a big problem for planned future missions because the intention is to spend months or years at a time there, and when considering radiation exposure duration is critical. Your body can withstand a short high level dose without too much trouble, but steady exposure to lower levels can be fatal after a while.

  • by multi io (640409) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Monday July 30, 2012 @07:58PM (#40824419)
    This [youtube.com] is the Apollo 14 lift-off from the LEM's onboard camera, which shows the flag at the moment of ignition and the two or three seconds after that. Although the flag holds up, it's pretty obvious how it could have been blown over during the Apollo 11 launch.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux