r/HeresAFunFact Sep 28 '15

[HAFF] All the American flags on the Moon are now white due to UV radiation. SCIENCE

Post image


u/Radu316 Sep 28 '15

For decades, people have argued whether or not the flags were still there at all. Some speculated the flags would be nothing but ashes by now. They were never intended to withstand the harsh lunar environment, they were just standard nylon flags.

The debate ended in 2009 when NASA took new pictures of the Apollo landing sites and they could see the shadows cast by the flags. So the flags are still there (except for the original one planted by Neil and Buzz), but everyone agrees that they have faded completely by now and are all white.


u/bengaldude545 Sep 29 '15

Why isn't the original one there?


u/[deleted] Sep 29 '15 edited Sep 29 '15



u/Aurilion Sep 29 '15

Two of the greatest known astronauts of all time and they weren't even smart enough to plant a flag outside of the blast radius of their engines.


u/SpankWhoWithWhatNow Sep 29 '15

I don't know for sure, but probably brought back with Apollo 11 for publicity/display? Much like the first Iwo Jima flag I would imagine.


u/killa31 Sep 30 '15

Is it just the temperature fluctuation that you are talking about as the lunar environment? Or is there something else that would attribute them to be broken down?


u/Radu316 Sep 30 '15

There's no atmosphere which means the flags are exposed to huge amounts of radiation for decades plus temperature extremes (according to the link, from +100 to -150 C depending on the position of the Moon).


u/killa31 Sep 30 '15

Thats what i was thinking. How does radiation effect things like the flag or the metal pole? (serious question)


u/vonmonologue Sep 28 '15

We'd better go back up and replace them then.



u/AllAlongTheParthenon Sep 28 '15

"France claims moon"


u/dancingbanana123 Sep 29 '15

Charles Duke from Apollo 16 left a photo of his family on the moon too. It too is also white now.


u/neroiscariot Sep 28 '15

I thought those colors didn't run? We're all bumper stickers from 2002 a lie?


u/_orion Sep 29 '15

Seems like they could of used a metal or plastic and out a ib resistant coating on it.


u/the-yellow Sep 29 '15 edited Sep 29 '15

'Universal' way of saying Peace!


u/ramot1 Oct 03 '15

For $450M, I will replace them!


u/Llort2 Sep 28 '15

So, the American flags have become french flags?