Buzz Aldrin at Tranquility Base (Photo: NASA)
Apollo 16 commander John Young saluting the flag while jumping (Photo: NASA)
Apollo 17 site showing flag shadow (Photo: NASA)
Apollo 16 site showing flag shadow (Photo: NASA)
Artist's concept of LRO (Photo: NASA)
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the US flag on the Moon. The image of Aldrin standing with the flag is one of the indelible images of that great day. But over the years, one question has vexed space buffs – what happened to the flag? In his book Return to Earth, Aldrin says that when the Lunar Module’s Ascent stage lifted off from Tranquility Base, he saw the flag topple over. Since no one could confirm what happened, it remained a mystery ... at least, until now. On July 27, NASA announced that its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) had solved the puzzle of the fate of the Apollo lunar flags.
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