Chinese flag pictured on the moon

Originally published at:

Every time I read about nations planning or working on landing on the moon in the 21st century, it blows my friggin’ mind that the US sent human beings to the moon AND got them back alive in the 1960s using significantly less powerful computers than I have available in my pocket to watch videos of cats being angry at toddlers. It’s such an incredible achievement that I don’t think we can wrap our heads around it.


Well they said it took a year, that doesn’t mean it was a year of continuous development. I mean, I bet Adam Savage could prototype something out that worked in 3 days, then fine tuned it over the next week. I mean it looks mostly like spring loaded metal.

Sourcing and developing the materials that would last in harsh UV radiation might have taken longer.

Also, obligatory:


Impressive work. I’d like to offer my congratulations to the Chinese Stanley Kubrik.


Technically the tradition of planting a flag is part of a ceremony when a person of that nation first sets foot there. The ceremony doesn’t necessarily extend to robotics.

I’m not saying there is some official rule on this. But don’t be surprised when a lot of people don’t recognize the Chinese flag on the moon as being legitimate.

1 Like

If there ever is an official rule, it certainly must contain some clause regarding size. That’s not a flag, it’s a shoulder patch.


Most of the time spent on things going to space is testing, and re-testing, and doing it for ages. Especially for non-manned missions.



Talking about the price being high or it seeming like a simple cheap task is what differentiates the Americans from the Chinese.

The Chinese are doing this for the same reasons the US did 50 years ago. The likely objective list of this mission was first to display the flag as proof of their nation’s accomplishment; and second to bring back some rocks. It’s hard to overstate the enormity of the failure had that flag not deployed exactly as it was supposed to.

Put another way, “we got a can of space rocks” is exciting to some people, but it isn’t exactly inspiring to the vast majority of people. When every single person can look up and boast “my flag is on that moon over there!”, that’s what you want for your nation.

A couple of engineers’ salaries was a trivial cost to the project.




. . . and that we stopped doing it, or even trying to do it.


What for? Been there, done that. That’s all there ever was to it.

I think that’s the sad part.

No, the sad part is that instead of fixing all the shit that was already broken back then, they opted to put a man on the moon instead. And it went downhill from there.

We’ve made a lot of progress since then. For a week, those three guys had to live in their spacesuits in a small enclosure, eating pureed something and peeing in their suits. Today, people can’t even put on a mask for an hour-long trip to the supermarket.

I don’t know why they need to erect a flag. Wouldn’t it make more sense to unfurl something on the ground which would be more readily visible from above, maybe even by telescope from earth or earth orbit?

I dunno, I am kind of the opinion that if mankind waits until all problems are fixed before venturing out and attempting great things, we’d still be sitting around a fire wearing shitty shoes.

I just don’t see it as a mutually exclusive proposition—we don’t not eliminate hunger or poverty or disease because we went to the moon, we just didn’t choose to do those things as a society or species.


I don’t think you can really blame all our social ills on the Apollo program. If you’re going to blow billions of dollars on an international dick-waving contest I’d rather the money get spent on peaceful science and engineering endeavors than just building more advanced weapon systems.

At any rate, it’s hard to argue that things like civil rights in America are worse overall today than they were in the late 1960s.


Its the choice of narrative that determines what you can do. You can pursue the heroic exceptionalism narrative, or for a communalist compassionate narrative. But not for both. In that way, it is mutually exclusive. Only one of those narratives support ending hunger and poverty, the other sustains hunger and poverty.

I don’t do that.

True. But then the science was used for building weapons anyway.

And yet the state of things is ridiculous, given that over 50 years have passed. The police is probably killing more Black people these days.


Flag on the moon. How did it get there?

1 Like