China's space program took significant leaps for mankind Thursday as it's lunar lander, a component of the space vehicle the Chang'e 5, gathered rocks and left the moon to return to Earth. Before the ascent vehicle blasted off it snapped a photo of the flag of China on the moon.
Not only did Chinese technology need to be able to scoop rocks from the moon, put them into some kind of container and secure them for space travel, it needed to construct a device capable of erecting a flagpole to get a picture of it. Much like the supermarket checkout, we used to depend on a person to do things like that, i.e. 1969's American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (Research cannot confirm or deny that Armstrong or Aldrin ever worked as supermarket cashiers). Actually, the American flag was put directly into the moon ground.
Watch the extra amount of ingenuity it took to put up the Chinese flag that never actually gets put into the surface.
How much did it cost to make sure they had a device to raise a flag on the moon? They worked on it for over a year, for goodness sake. I do not fault them at all, but I'm very curious if there was ever a breaking point at which they said, "The hell with it–we'll do it next time. This is costing us a shit-ton." Or, do communist countries not operate that way?
The Chang'e is the third Chinese spacecraft sent to the moon but the first to be able to fire engines and take back off for Earth. China does in fact have plans to send a manned mission to the moon and eventually build a space station there. Currently China has an orbiter and rover bound for Mars. I'm sure the Martians are looking forward to a flag planted in their planet's surface.