Sunday , October 17 2021

Raising a flag on the moon is much harder than you think



Almost all of us have had the experience of raising a flag. Hold it, then lift it. It is very easy.

But doing so on the moon can be extremely difficult.

As the Chinese lunar model Chang-5 raises the national flag on the moon, let’s look at how engineers are working on this significant achievement.

How to make him fly?

The moon is so small compared to the Earth that it can not maintain an atmosphere, which leads to the first problem of raising the flag – there is no wind to keep the flag extended.

You may have seen pictures of the American flag waving apparently during the Apollo missions. It is just an illusion. The fact is that in addition to the vertical pillar to which the flag is attached, there is also a horizontal pillar to keep it horizontal.

The Chinese design of the flagpole is slightly different.

In previous Change missions, the national flag was painted on the surface of moons and rovers. But in the Chang-5 mission, the flag was hoisted before it was extended.

Engineers test rolling mechanism at Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST) / Wuhan Textile University

Engineers test rolling mechanism at Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST) / Wuhan Textile University

Also, since a Chinese astronaut has yet to land on the moon, the work needs to be done by machines – a robotic arm, to be specific.

According to a report by China National Radio, the entire flag-raising system must weigh less than 1 kg in order for the aircraft to remain light. However, the robotic arm must be able to withstand sudden temperature changes during launch, solar radiation and the Moon’s airless environment.

Engineers have tried many mechanisms to display the flag, including memory metal and unfurling the flag as a traditional Chinese fan. In the end, the rolling solution worked best in the simulations.

Finding the best cloth

Normal flags on Earth will be whitewashed or even destroyed on the Moon due to sunlight. Many have speculated that this may have happened to some of the six Apollo flags, although there has been no evidence to prove this.

“Colored strong fabrics are usually heavy, while light-colored fabrics are usually fragile,” said Cheng Chang, who is in charge of Chang’e-5’s flag-raising system. “It took our team more than a year to find the perfect material.

Researchers behind the cloth discovered how they did it.

The team works for Wuhan Textile University and is led by Professor Xu Weilin.

Xu (L2) talks to his team members about canvas technology. Wuhan Textile University

Xu (L2) talks to his team members about canvas technology. Wuhan Textile University

“The flag was mainly made of high-class aramid fibers with our own technology,” the university wrote on its website. “It can withstand extreme ultraviolet radiation.

The team also used its own nanomaterial to prevent the paint from evaporating.

“It is a very tailored product for a space mission,” China Space News reported.

While the Chinese-language Internet is fascinated by how cute the pop-up banner is, we also need to know and remember the teams behind this complicated endeavor.


Source link