Shop Windows to the Universe

We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin deploy the U.S. flag on the Moon on July 20, 1969. (See text for a description of how this photo was taken.)
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of NASA

Is it really true that man never really walked on the Moon?

The picture of the American Flag (the one put there by the Apollo astronauts) is waving (or straight out) in the wind. How could that be possible if there is no atmosphere on the Moon? Was it some sort of optical illusion? If there were only three persons on that trip to the moon and one was Neil Armstrong, one was the other was standing beside him and third one was in the space shuttle then who took the photograph?

It is true - astronauts have really traveled to the Moon! The first astronauts to land and walk on the Moon were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. On July 20, 1969, these Apollo 11 astronauts planted an American flag on the surface of the moon.

The flag looks like it is waving in the breeze. But, that's kind of fishy since there is no air and no wind on the Moon. Does this mean that the photo is a fake? Absolutely not!

The flag had a special bar sown into the top of it so it would stand out instead of hanging limp. When the flag was planted, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had a little trouble getting the bar to extend fully, and so it ended up being a little shorter than it should have been. As a result, the flag was bunched up a little bit and looked like it was actually "waving in the breeze."

In the Apollo 11 mission, two astronauts got to land on the Moon while one astronaut stayed in the command module orbiting the Moon (the Space Shuttle wasn't around yet). So, there was noone else around to take a picture of the two astronauts on the Moon. An automatic camera took their picture. The camera was mounted on the Lunar module which had brought Armstrong and Aldrin to the Moon.

Last modified August 1, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Learn about Earth and space science, and have fun while doing it! The games section of our online store includes a climate change card game and the Traveling Nitrogen game!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

What are the retrograde motions of planets in the sky?

It depends on which type of motion you are asking about. If you take a birds-eye view from the top of the solar system all the planets orbit around the Sun in a counter-clockwise (or direct) direction....more

How do Astronauts Live in Space?

Have you ever wondered how astronauts live in space? Did you know they do a lot of the same things we do here on Earth? Astronauts eat, exercise and sleep just like we do. However, their food isn't always...more

How far is the Earth from the Sun, the Moon and all the other planets? How far are all of the planets from the Sun? Do you know of a software that tracks the planets in real-time?

There is a really neat internet program called Solar System Live that shows where all of the planets and the Sun are. If you go to that page, you'll see an image similar to the one on the left. Below the...more

Is it really true that man never really walked on the Moon?

The picture of the American Flag (the one put there by the Apollo astronauts) is waving (or straight out) in the wind. How could that be possible if there is no atmosphere on the Moon? Was it some sort...more

How many planets orbit the sun?

I was wondering if there is a new planet? Are there planets (a tenth planet?) after Pluto belonging to our solar system? What are the names of the new planets discovered in the solar system? Are there...more

Did the Big Bang create any black holes? Wouldn't the universe evolve differently if some of the original energy had disappeared in black holes?

When an object has a really high energy, it can form a black hole. This is called a primordial black hole. Primordial black holes were formed near the beginning of the universe. Primordial black holes...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA