Flags at the Olympics may come and go, but there's one U.S. record that remains unchallenged. New images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show all but one of the U.S. flags planted during the six Apollo missions to the lunar surface are still standing.
"I was a bit surprised that the flags survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the lunar surface, but they did," LRO researcher Mark Robinson posted on the project's website.
"What they look like is another question," he added.
Without atmosphere or wind to contend with, the flags seem to have remained largely undisturbed for more than four decades. The one exception is the flag planted by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin during the the first moon landing on July 20, 1969.
Aldrin had reported that the flag was blown over by exhaust from their spacecraft as it lifted off to return to their orbiting mother ship for the return trip home.
"It looks like he was correct," Robinson wrote.
Scientists figured out the rest of the flags were still standing by studying LRO images taken at different times of the day. The flags, as well as other items left on the moon, cast shadows in different positions depending on the angle of the sun.