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Waving a Flag on the Moon 

moon landing in 1972

Staged Moon Landing

Photographs of the moon landing have caused many a conspiracy theory to fly over the years. Many point out that there is no atmosphere (and therefore no breeze) on the moon, and yet the photos capturing the "giant step for mankind" show an American flag rippling in the wind.

Here are some facts that take the air out of those "faked moon landing" theories.

The folks who came up with the idea of taking an American flag to the moon were aware that unless they rigged something up, the flag would just hang there. So they built a special flagpole expressly for the purpose of making the flag appear to fly.

Ripple Effect

The astronauts would be wearing bulky space suits, so they needed a flagpole that was easy to assemble and to plant in the ground. Plus, the pole had to be portable, and not use up a lot of precious cargo space. So scientists rigged a telescoping pole with a telescoping horizontal crossbar that was supposed to make the flag look as if it were blowing in the wind.

The flag itself was standard issue, although the top was hemmed so that the astronauts would be able to slide it over the crossbar. And the entire assembly weighed less than ten pounds. Even so, the astronauts reported having some trouble setting the flag up. They weren't able to stick the pole far enough into the ground, and they weren't able to fully extend the horizontal crossbar. And that explains the rippling effect.

Read More:

"Where No Flag Has Gone Before: Political and Technical Aspects of Placing a Flag on the Moon" (NASA Contractor Report)

"The Flag on the Moon" (New York Times)

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