With quarantines back in the public consciousness, you’d be surprised to hear that the Apollo 11 astronauts were themselves quarantined upon returning to Earth.
In this episode of History Club, Vox’s Phil Edwards and Coleman Lowndes chat with Amy Shira Teitel of The Vintage Space about the Apollo 11 quarantine.
It was an unusual process for an unprecedented task: keeping potential moon germs from entering the Earth’s atmosphere (and affecting its population).
To try to isolate the Apollo astronauts from the Earth, NASA went to extraordinary lengths. They clothed them in “Biological Isolation Garments,” transported them on a converted Airstream trailer, and then quarantined them for weeks in a Lunar Receiving Lab specially built to analyze moon samples and, of course, the men who went there.
The quarantine was a strange capstone to the journey to the moon — but also a necessary one that’s surprisingly resonant today.