1 Aug 2012

First Moon flags still aloft

5:48 am on 1 August 2012

Images taken by a NASA spacecraft show most of the American flags planted by the first men on the moon are still standing.

The photos show that flags erected in 1969 by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are still casting shadows.

Apollo missions ran from 1969 to 1972, shuttling American astronauts to the surface of the Moon. Six flags were planted during this time.

The orbiter was launched in 2009 to analyse new landing sites on the Moon and send back visual information about the lunar environment via narrow and wide-angle cameras.

Mark Robinson, who analysed data from the lunar orbiter's camera, says he's surprised they survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the moon's surface.

''But what they must look like is another question,'' he says.