China plants its flag on the moon as the lunar probe takes off for Earth
China has become the second country in the world to display its flag on the moon after the United States, which put its flag on the lunar surface some 50 years ago. The China National Space Administration released images of the five-star red flag on the moon, taken by the camera of the Chang’e-5 spacecraft. The spacecraft “displayed the red five-star national flag, a genuine one made of cloth, marking a first time in the country’s aerospace history,” Chinese state media said.
Chang’e 5 is the third Chinese spacecraft to successfully land on the moon and the first to take off again. It is the latest achievement in Beijing’s ambitious space program, which also has an orbiter and a rover heading for Mars.
The Chang’e, named after the Chinese goddess of the moon, is also slated to bring back the first lunar samples in four decades. China is now the third nation in the world, after the United States and the Soviet Union, to collect lunar samples for scientific purposes.
Soil and rock samples obtained from the moon by the Chinese spacecraft are expected to provide information on the origin of the moon, geological evolution, lunar volcanic activity and also provide information on solar activities in the universe, according to the team. of the mission. The space probe is expected to land in Inner Mongolia on December 16. From there, the samples will be transported to specialized laboratories for analysis.
The tradition of displaying flags on the moon was started by the United States. The United States planted the first flag on the moon during the manned Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Five more American flags were placed on the surface during subsequent missions until 1972.
During their first manned mission to the moon, a lunar flag assembly kit was designed and shipped aboard the Apollo mission, the astronauts assembled the flag and placed it on the lunar surface. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) specially designed a flag that would not bow due to the lack of atmosphere on the moon.
The successful Chang’e-5 mission vindicates President Xi Jinping’s “space dreams”. The latest mission sets the tone for the next set of ambitious goals, which includes creating a rocket capable of delivering heavier payloads than NASA and private spaceflight firm SpaceX, a lunar base and a space station with permanent crew.