Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

Know your Chang'e-6: Chinese flag on moon's far side made of basalt


As a sign of China's presence on the far side of the moon, the Chang'e-6 lunar probe unfurled a Chinese national flag on Monday during its sampling mission.

The flag was woven from an unusual material: basalt fibers, essentially rock.

In Chinese, basalt rock is named Xuanwu rock, after the mythical animal that is often used to represent the direction of the north and the season of winter.

"We crushed and melted the rocks in order to pull them into thin threads with a diameter about one-third that of a hair," said Prof. Zhou Changyi with the National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Zhou told CGTN that the flag could last over 10 millennia on the moon, as the material is highly resistant to corrosion, heat and cold.

The material could also be used to build China's lunar research base in the future, Zhou said, as the moon has an abundance of this type of rock.

It took researchers over a year to develop the technique of making basalt fibers, according to a report by China Media Group.

"The national flag is meant to inspire patriotism among Chinese people around the world," Zhou said. "Perhaps the whole nation is looking forward to this, proud of our country."

This is the first time China has independently displayed its national flag on the moon's far side. However, it's impossible for people on Earth to observe it through a regular telescope, as the far side is permanently facing away from our planet.

China also unfurled its national flag during the Chang'e-5 mission in 2020. That flag is made of polymer fiber.

Click here to learn more about the Chang'e-6 mission and China's space program.

Search Trends