Why the US flag 'flapped' during the Apollo 11 moon landing
It has been 50 years since the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing, which subsequently means it has been 50 years since one man took a "small step" and mankind achieved it's greatest accomplishment to date.
However, it has also been 50 years of doubters, conspiracy theorists, and tin foil hat-wearing individuals who believe the Moon landings never happened. From the footprints left behind to the shadows on the Moon's surface, there's plenty of "evidence" these unbelievers like to throw at us logical folk who can get on board with the fact that 400,000 people worked tirelessly to get Apollo 11 to break free from the Earth's gravitational pull to make the US the first nation to land humans on the Moon.
However, one piece of the conspiracy theorists' "evidence" has always stood out more: how could the US flag wave about on the Moon when there's no wind?
Well, you see, when NASA first transported Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Mike Collins to the Moon on July 20, 1969, then-US President Richard Nixon instructed the astronauts to plant the "stars and stripes" in order to honor every US taxpayer who contributed to the Apollo program, the Express reports. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact the US beat the Soviet Union to the Moon...)
Relieve the incredible moment Buzz Aldrin has called the "proudest moment" of his life:
As you can see from the footage above, the flag does indeed "flap around", as if it were caught up in a light breeze. However, this couldn't possibly happen on the Moon, because the Moon is in a vacuum.
Therefore, many conspiracy theorists are quick to point out that this is evidence that the Moon landings were filmed somewhere on Earth - some say the in the middle of the Nevada Desert, others say in a Stanley Kubrick Hollywood studio - as there was WIND!
As if NASA wouldn't have thought of that. Come on, guys...
However, NASA themselves did respond to the allegation, providing the very simple explanation that the flag could be seen waving about because the astronauts were twisting the flagpole in order to get it deep into the Moon soil: “Not every flag needs a breeze – at least not in space.
"When astronauts were planting the flagpole they rotated it back and forth to better penetrate the lunar soil – anyone who’s set a blunt tent-post will know how this works.
"So of course the flag waved. Unfurling a piece of rolled-up cloth with sore angular momentum will naturally result in waves and ripples – no breeze required."
Following the Apollo 11 mission, NASA astronauts have since planted five more flags on the Moon, many of which are still standing to this very day. Sadly, lunar satellite photos show the Apollo 11 flag has since fallen over.