A Chinese space mission successfully unfurled the communist country’s flag on the moon, the state propaganda outlet Global Times announced Thursday.
According to the Times, the Chang’e-5 probe unfurled the flag before taking off from the moon having obtained various samples of soil and rocks that will be brought back to earth.
“The Chinese national flag shines an even brighter red from the moon, and from now on it will be a grand reminder for stargazers from all over the world of the excitement and inspiration we felt from Apollo missions more than half a century ago,” the outlet noted. “Right before the lift-off of Chang’e-5’s ascender from the lunar surface, the lander vehicle of the Chinese spacecraft unfolded the five-star red national flag, a genuine one made from fabrics, marking a first in the country’s aerospace history.”
The outlet goes on to explain that the flag, which is about 79 inches wide and 35 inches tall, was designed with “cutting edge technology” that will allow it to preserve its color and shape under the moon’s extreme temperatures some 236,121 miles away from earth.
“An ordinary national flag on Earth would not survive the severe lunar environment, so the research team also spent more than a year selecting the proper materials to make sure the eventual flag would be strong enough, survive under extreme coldness and heat and capable of showing the fine colors of the national flag and remain so forever,” explained Cheng Chang, one of the mission’s leading developers.
China Moon probe starts collecting material pic.twitter.com/bjedJRWjnP
— The National (@TheNationalNews) December 2, 2020
It is not the first time that China has waved its flag on the moon. Back in 2013, the Yutu rover beamed portraits of the Chinese flag on the moon’s surface as China became only the third country to successfully land a spacecraft on the moon, preceded only by America and the Soviet Union.
The Chang’e-4 lander and rover Yutu-2 that landed in January 2019 similarly planted the Chinese flag after making a historic landing on the moon’s dark side.
As part of its plan to become the world’s leading superpower, China has invested billions in space programs over the past two decades, which also tie into the country’s aggressive military ambitions, posing a potential threat to U.S. national security.
“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is executing a long-term strategy to exploit U.S. technology, talent, and capital to build up its military space and counter space programs and advance its strategic interests at the expense of the United States,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted in their report this year.
“China’s zero-sum pursuit of space superiority harms U.S. economic competitiveness, weakens U.S. military advantages, and undermines strategic stability,” explains the report’s summary. “In short, it represents a threat to U.S. national security. Barring significant action to counter China’s space-related programs and activities of concern, it is likely that this strategic competitor’s efforts will continue to adversely affect U.S. interests.”