Neil Armstrong: The reason he was quarantined as soon as he returned to Earth

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Although in 1969, when the crew of the legendary Apollo 11 was the first people to set foot in space there was no pandemic, on their return to Earth they had to be quarantined.

In 1957 and 1961, the Soviet Union made history as the first nation to send an artificial satellite – and then an individual – into space, when other countries had previously launched only animals. In the West, however, 1969 was a year that would completely overshadow these achievements and change humanity’s relationship to space forever. That year Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first people to set foot in moon.

As the first extraterrestrial body to ever visit space in person, Apollo 11 was a groundbreaking success that overcame many dangerous obstacles. As the first of its kind, the mission was considered so dangerous that a speech was prepared for President Nixon in case the two astronauts could not return to base, reports However, as the capsule carrying the crew returned safely to Earth, some scientists feared that their return could cause an unimaginable health crisis.

The possibility of a Moon virus led to the quarantine of the crew

While the moon was not a mystery to researchers in the years before the Apollo 11 mission, no one knew for sure what was on the surface of the moon at a microscopic level, and the possibility of life on the moon in the form of a virus or other danger to life on Earth was not considered very likely.

However, it was considered quite serious that the three astronauts had to change into specially designed uniforms that kept them isolated from the outside world. Meanwhile, the capsule was disinfected and samples of lunar material were carefully isolated. For the next three weeks, they were housed in a special room intended for any illness that the astronauts who made history could have brought with them.

The three of them met with the president on TV and Armstrong celebrated his birthday in the booth. When the three weeks of quarantine were over, NASA found that there was no danger and that they could leave. This was a healthy mentality and future missions to planets like Mars would follow similar quarantine protocols on arrival and departure.

However, it is important to note, reports, that the procedures followed to curb any virus carried by Apollo 11 were profoundly flawed. Despite the precautions taken, according to The Space Review, the initial unsafe opening of the capsule would allow any pathogens to escape easily.

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