Apollo astronauts in quarantine after the moon mission, 1969

When planning the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, NASA thought of every possible detail, including a gloomy scenario: What if astronauts left something dangerous on Earth—and alien to science—the Moon germs?

Before Apollo 11 departed, NASA could not be positive that, if bits of dust or potential microbes returned home, life on Earth would be safe. Needless to say, accidentally setting loose a lunar plague on Earth's inhabitants would have erased all the good publicity received by the Moon's landing in the first place.

Just in case, in addition to the protections they were setting up to ensure that the Moon rocks remain free of terrestrial contamination, NASA decided to establish a three-week quarantine for the Apollo 11 crew.

After arriving in Houston on July 27, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins were confined to a mobile quarantine facility.

The 49 pounds of lunar samples they brought along with their spacecraft, the Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia, were similarly placed in quarantine, lasting 21 days from the time they first came into contact with lunar material. Were.

During his time at the LRL, he did several debriefs from a conference room surrounded by glass, wrote his pilot report, and celebrated Armstrong's 39th birthday with a surprise party.

The Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) was originally a giant Airstream-esque trailer on an aircraft carrier. It was so big, it had its own lounge and library, and could seat 100 people. Compared to the landing module, the MQF was a palace.

Supported by a team of 20, the astronauts were visited by none other than President Nixon. Finally, after serving three weeks in isolation, when no moon disease was revealed, Collins, Aldrin, and Armstrong were released on terra firma.

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