Beijing Dec 4 — The China National Space Administration on Friday released an image showing China’s national flag unfurled from the Chang’e-5 probe on the moon before the takeoff. The images were taken by a panoramic camera installed on the lander-ascender combination of the probe before the ascender blasted off from the moon.
This is the first time that China displayed a genuine fabric-made national flag on the moon.
In December 2013, the Chinese national flag, which was presented in the form of spacecraft’s coatings, was recorded in pictures that the spacecraft’s lander and its rover Yutu-1 took for each other.
In January 2019, Chang’e-4 lander and rover Yutu-2 took China’s national flag to the dark side of the moon, also in the form of spacecraft’s coatings.
What’s special about the flag?
Presenting a flag on the lunar surface is nothing like what it is on the earth.
Because of the strong electromagnetic radiation and the huge temperature difference between day and night on the surface of the moon, a flag made of conventional material, once exposed on the lunar surface, will experience color fading and even decomposition immediately.
Therefore, scientists spent a year to find the proper material of the flag, which is a new composite material that can withstand the harsh environment on the lunar surface and retain its color and shape.
Made of the special material, the flag has a weight of only 12 gram.
It also requires a peculiar system to display the flag. Researchers have worked hard to slim the equipment and minimize its weight to 1 kilogram at last.
And the system is also made of materials that can endure the hostile conditions on the moon.