Just Too Cool: US Flags still standing on the Moon

This is for your Just Too Cool file.

As you read this, keep in mind that The First Gay President has killed our manned space program, thus enervating our collective imaginations and making us dependent on those who don’t like us.  But I digress.

I saw this on the news the other night but here is a version from azcentral.com:

ASU scientist’s cameras find 5 flags on moon

For years, scientists and space buffs have wondered what happened to the six American flags planted on the moon during the historic Apollo missions.

Now, thanks to high-resolution cameras orbiting the moon that are overseen by an Arizona State University professor, the mystery is solved: All the flags but one are still standing. The exception is the flag for Apollo 11, the historic first human moon landing in 1969, said ASU professor Mark Robinson, the lead scientist for the cameras aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The lack of an Apollo 11 flag is consistent with astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s memory of the famous mission. Aldrin said the flag blew over from the rocket blast when astronauts left the surface.

Robinson had previously doubted whether any flags would be visible.

“Personally, I was a bit surprised that the flags survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the lunar surface, but they did. What they look like is another question (badly faded?),” Robinson wrote in a recent blog on the orbiter’s website.

Images taken by the orbiter show the flags and their shadows but aren’t detailed enough to reveal whether the Stars and Stripes are still visible.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is an unmanned spacecraft that has been circling the moon for more than three years. The minivan-size orbiter has equipment that is photographing the moon’s surface, recording temperatures and measuring radiation.

The photographs are being used to map the surface and could be used to identify future landing sites, although the United States currently has no plans to send humans back to the moon.


Signs of the missions are still visible on the moon’s surface. Photos taken by the lunar orbiter show tracks made by lunar rovers and equipment left behind, including backpacks jettisoned by astronauts. Images taken of the Apollo 17 site show the astronauts’ foot trails.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnnAsher says:

    Oh Father. I’m sorry but I think BO cancelled wnd GW did little because once president they learn we never landed on the moon. [Can you also tell us where Elvis is hiding out?] Seriously the photographs don’t make photographic sense. The lighting. The shadows. These tracks. My favorite photo is one with both astronauts in it. The camera was supposedly affixed to their chest. This 1960’s camera, that they couldn’t see through the lense and had to operate through their gloves… And still capture images dead center? In focus? Then there are the shadows and illumination that would require a back light- from where? No. Sorry. No moon landing.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Sorry, Ann, but a 1960s camera with a wide angle lens is a perfectly reasonable explanation. A 35mm camera with a 24mm lens delivers perfect focus at anywhere much beyond 12″ from the lens, as I recall. Lighting and shadows? No idea what you are asserting. A link to an image which demonstrates the issues you contend would aid the rational discussion of same.

    It was a joke in Canada, at one time, that the moon landing never happened, they shot it in Sudbury. (Nickel mines, slag heaps… if you’ve never seen Sudbury, ON, it won’t make sense.)

  3. mamajen says:

    I was just about to post a sarcastic comment about how it was all a great big conspiracy, but I see someone already beat me to it…minus the sarcasm part.

  4. tzard says:

    I remember as a boy scout, when starting a campfire at night, we’d say the pledge of allegiance facing the moon, for lack of the usual flag.

  5. introibo says:

    Remember the movie “Capricorn One”? OJ Simpson and others play astronauts who are participating in a fake moon landing which, as I recall, is supposed to go wrong..and they escape, and the government gets after them to catch them before they spill the beans.

    Interesting to see this. I have a conspiracy theory relative..he’ll probably say these are faked, too.

  6. Geoffrey says:

    I’m surprised there isn’t some crazy group of radical environmentalists out there crying foul about how the American astronauts littered on the moon!

  7. Sissy says:

    Geoffrey: they did. From an article in which environmentalist complain that the space program is planning to “exploit” other planets:

    “It may be long into future before people are living and working on the Moon or on Mars or other more distant planets, but Dr Johnson-Woods believes it is not too early to consider the impact a human presence will have on these new and pristine worlds.

    “You put a footprint somewhere, it’s never the same again,” she said.”

  8. TC says:

    People have actually been worried about this?
    Cue “Too Much Time on My Hands”.

    [Can you point to the line in the article which said that people where “worrying” about this? Cue: “Pay Attention” o{];¬) ]

  9. Cafeam Fruor says:

    I guess I’m not surprised that the flags are still there. What’s super cool to me, however, is that technology is advanced enough for unmanned spacecraft to show us from lunar orbit that said flags are still there. So, there are no eyes on the moon right now, and yet we can say that the flags are still in place. Very cool.

  10. dcs says:

    keep in mind that The First Gay President has killed our manned space program

    The Shuttle program is what killed the manned space program.

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And the star-spangled banners still hang straight and tall
    Where the crater-dappled Moon through its round e’er must fall.

    To be fair to the conspiracy folks, the Moon inherently looks hinky to our eyes, because it’s not the Earth. There’s no atmosphere so the light looks different. There’s lighter gravity, and the astronauts move through it in slightly weighted-for-balance suits. The dirt isn’t any kind of dirt we have here. And yet, it’s not totally alien either. Moon conspiracy theorists are basically trapped in the Uncanny Valley Effect.

    (Well, that, Watergate, and distrusting the power of tech to do anything cool. As opposed to alien conspiracy theorists, who actually think our tech is more cool than humans could possibly create.)

  12. jmf says:

    I fondly remember the space pragram and being glued to the television as the astronauts walked on the moon and planted Old Glory. Thanks for the post.


  13. SKAY says:

    Well Obama is making sure there are no more American footprints any where else. It is OK of course if they are from some other country he favors.
    Thanks for the pictures, Father. I am delighted to see them and would think they might offer some proof to those who are doubters–for whatever reason–but apparently not.
    Buzz Aldrin just gets livid (and rightly so)when he is asked about that since he and his fellow astronauts put their lives on the line.
    We are witnessing attempts to rewrite history–even history that is within living memory.
    The book 1984 comes to mind.

  14. Banjo pickin girl says:

    I remember being angry that they left behind some perfectly good Hasselblads. They could have brought one home and given it to me if they didn’t want it, no reason to throw it away up there!

  15. I wonder if they can spot Tommy Lee Jones up there.

  16. anilwang says:

    Ironically, all this is related to Humanae Vitae.

    Back before contraception and abortion became legal and mainstream, people realized that inevitably we’d outgrow the earth so we’d have to reach for the stars, and cultivate the barren planets around us so they could support life. There’s so much space out there that we could fully populate one uninhabited planet a year until the end of the universe (assuming it reaches heat death in 10^100 years) and still leave most of the universe empty.

    But now because of contraception and abortion, the pressure to explore space had decreased to the point where nations no longer dream of expanding into space. So space funds get cut, but the old Malthusian boogeyman is still around, so environmentalism and population control have taken its place. We’ve reached the point where things such as the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (www.vhemt.org) is considered a virtue and as Geoffrey and Sissy pointed out environmentalist complain that the space program is planning to “exploit” other planets.

    If Pope Paul VI had put such predictions into Humanae Vitae, he would have been dismissed as a lunatic….and yet that’s what we’re facing a mere 50 years after.

  17. What a shame… I wonder if China will go to the moon in my lifetime, or perhaps Mars, and plant their flags. What a mess we are as a country – aborting ourselves into oblivion, more interested in tabloids than politics and reasoning and critical thinking, spending our unprecedented-in-history amount of money and credit and capitol on things that matter less than, say, expanding the borders of human capabilities. It’s just a shame, it’s the death of a great people.

  18. Widukind says:

    Oh, I thought that Obama was reopening the space program, cause he is said to have found there the 58th state and needs to do some campaigning among its constituents.

  19. Kathleen10 says:

    I enjoyed all of this, except for AnnAsher’s comment. I’m not sure if perhaps you are kidding Ann, such conspiracy theories kind of blow my mind. What a terrible amount of distrust and suspicion to carry around. I can’t imagine thinking my entire government, all the people it took to put on the best space program in the world (even just acting it out), the fake emotions as things went well or ill, the families that had to be brought into it, the technical aspect, the video and audio well beyond anything Steven Spielberg could have imagined, the secrecy of this amazing “big prank” and all the other “unlikelihoods”. (I just made that word up) But you see this as plausible. Interesting.
    Those of us who heard the emotion behind “Houston, we have a problem”, or the unbelievable first walk on the moon, the way the astronauts looked as they buoyantly bounced around on the surface, the horror of astronaut lives lost while they were plumbing space for US, the thrill of seeing them pop out of modules that amazingly landed where they wanted them to, in the middle of the ocean…they would be white and full of pallor from the challenge of the space experience. No no Dear, there is no way this was a fake. It defies all logic and reason.

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