APOLLO FLAGS STILL STANDING ON SOUND STAGE, ER, THE MOON
July 31 2012
Washington, D.C. – It could be argued, quite sensibly, that the first Apollo mission that landed on the moon was the greatest accomplishment in human history, at least in terms of human exploration. Even today that feat has not been matched in terms of awe and just raw hubris. For our species it truly was a great moment.
It could also be argued that out lack of activity on the moon, our reticence to actually go back, has made that achievement even more significant and spectacular. It stands now and perhaps forever as a moment crystallized in time, a moon lander in a bottle of sorts.
Now, all those years later, we are being reminded of that achievement once again after pictures sent back from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showed that flags planted by the Apollo astronauts are indeed still standing on the surface of our rocky neighbour. Those pictures, sent from orbit over a Hollywood sound stage, er, the moon showed all but the original flag, which fell down when the lunar lander took off, still standing as a tribute to human ingenuity and cleverness for all time.
“The most convincing way to see that the flags are still there, is to view a time series of LROC images taken at different times of day, and watch the shadow circle the flag,” said Professor Mark Robinson. “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.”
It’s not clear why it would really matter whether or not the flags were in good shape or if they really don’t know, considering how easy it is to walk to a sound stage, er, fly to the moon.
The images are the first sent back from Hollywood, er, the moon, proving the existence of the flags.
“This is really something. I mean it’s something for sure. Having those things survive all that time in the harsh environs of space is something really special. It’s almost as special as the achievement of planting themselves was. I mean its close, kind of in the same realm at least. For the people who made them for sure it’s a big deal,” said Scrape TV Science analyst Dr. Howard Poe. “It wouldn’t be such an amazing thing if those flags were on a Hollywood sound stage of course but because they are on the moon, no doubt about that, it is a much bigger deal. America builds things to last on the moon.”
In a controlled environment the specialized flags probably would have been still standing, provided no one knocked them over.
“One day, perhaps, people will be living on the moon and may not even know there were flags there in the first place. They will be getting their spaced frappa mocha chino and going on oblivious that old dead guys put flags there and that really says something,” continued Poe. “The same could be said for downtown Hollywood as well, the coffee thing but of course that wouldn’t be the case because the flags are on the moon not in Hollywood. The moon isn’t even close to Hollywood, not really any connection is pretty much impossible I think. Yeah, impossible. They’re on the moon.”
China will likely be the next nation on the moon, possibly even the real one.
Anna Phillips, Science Correspondent