China has planted its flag on the Moon, more than 50 years later the first country the United States of America did it.
The pictures from China’s National Space Administration show the five-starred Red Flag holding still on the windless lunar surface, reports BBC.
Two previous Chinese lunar missions had flags on the crafts’ coatings – so neither could be affixed to the moon.
The state-run Global Times newspaper said the Chinese flag was a reminder of the “excitement and inspiration” felt during the US Apollo missions.
The fabric flag was unfurled by the Chang’e-5 lander vehicle just before its ascender vehicle took off using the lander as a launchpad.
It has taken soil and rock samples to China’s lunar orbiter 15km above the lunar surface – which will then be enclosed in a module that will be aimed at China’s Inner Mongolia region.
The Chinese flag is 2m wide and 90cm tall and weighs about a kilogram. All parts of the flag have been given features such as protection against cold temperatures, project leader Li Yunfeng told the Global Times.
“An ordinary national flag on Earth would not survive the severe lunar environment,” project developer Cheng Chang said.
The Chang’e-5 mission is China’s third successful landing on the Moon in seven years.
Earlier, 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.