An American flag aboard NASA's Phoenix Mars lander. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

High-Flying Flags

Feature | July 3, 2018

Some U.S. flags fly higher than others. Here are some the banners that spacecraft have carried to the far corners of the Solar System.

U.S. flag visible on Viking lander with Martian terrain on horizon
Viking 2 on Mars, 1976. Credit: NASA/JPL
technician holding u.s. flag with voyager spacecraft in background
Voyager 2, before launch 1977. Note: Only one American flag has flown farther from Earth than this one - the one on Voyager 1. Credit: NASA/JPL
robotic arm with tool imprinted with u.s. flag
This view of an American flag on metal recovered from the site of the World Trade Center towers shortly after their destruction on 11 Sept. 2001, was taken on Mars on 11 Sept. 2011, the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the towers. The aluminum component bearing the image of the flag serves as the cable guard of a tool on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
u.s. flag visible on hardware on mars rover
NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars, September 2012. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
u.s. flag visible on spacecraft in clean room
The New Horizons spacecraft in November 2005, prior to its launch toward Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Credit: NASA
astronaut with u.s. flag
Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt on the moon, December 1972. Credit: NASA