A month on ‘Mars’: Flags and footprints of the moon and Arctic

The Apollo lunar landing missions have often been referred to as “flags and footprints” sorties.

It’s a somewhat derisive term, referring to America’s mad dash to reach the moon before the Soviet Union, tramping around picking up rocks, and planting the US flag to announce our accomplishment. To characterize the magnificence of the Apollo missions in this way is to ignore the vastness of the project, but the description has stuck.

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