Man on the moon 50 years later: The flag


I'm David Kerley at the Smithsonian Air

and Space Museum where we are marking 50

years since man landed and walked on the

moon in a lander just like this one one

of the most iconic images from the moon

is the one you just saw Buzz Aldrin's

standing next to that American flag and

there is quite a story about that flag

how it got on the LEM and to the moon

back in 2003 our colleague at the time

Lisa stark had the story Neil Armstrong

was first out followed by Buzz Aldrin

two hours and 32 minutes walking on the

moon collecting rocks conducting

experiments and planting the American

flag I didn't know all the details about

how to put it together but I didn't

figure that putting two sticks together

was going to be that difficult in fact

it was nearly a disaster the flag story

begins a few short months before the

lunar module touched down that's when

NASA made the decision to put an

American flag on the moon it was

controversial there was a UN treaty that

banned any country from claiming the

moon as its own so this was to be a

symbolic gesture I was not to talk to

speak to anyone about it Tom Moser a

young NASA engineer was drafted to help

with the clandestine project the flag

was the easy part

straight from a government catalogue


but where to put it number one it cannot

go in the command module because there's

not room number two it cannot go in the

lunar module because there's not room

for it it wound up on the ladder from

the lunar module folded just so with a

collapsible flagpole and a telescoping

arm to hold the flag out straight like

this the only way to make the flag fly

on the windless surface of the moon but

it didn't work as planned it would not

extend because

the telescoping rod had a coating on it

that it caused it to gall if you will or

to to weld it stuck

so the inventiveness of humans rather

than leaving that in an awkward position

we kind of spread out the flag over the

whole part of it and put that artistic

touch on it and so the flag appears to

be waving in the breeze conspiracy

theorists say that's evidence man never

landed on the moon

but they did now so like the mistakes so

much you designed all the rest of the

lunar flags to look just like this one

because that flag was store-bought the

experts believe that the Sun has

bleached out all the colors but it's

still there

more on the moon landing and moonwalk 50

years ago here on ABC News live I'm

David Kerley