Encyclopedia Astronautica
1965.05.23 - American Apollo astronauts returning from the moon to be quarantined


The Life Sciences Committee of the National Academy of Sciences' Space Science Board recommended to NASA that American astronauts returning from the moon and planets be kept in quarantine for at least three weeks to prevent possible contamination of the earth by extraterrestrial organisms,

Howard Simons reported in the Washington Post. A report entitled "Potential Hazards of Back Contamination from the Planets" presented quarantine and other recommendations: the need to avoid decontamination of returning equipment until it had been subjected to biological study; the possible need for the astronauts to shed their outer garments on the moon and Mars before returning home; the need to conduct immediate research on any samples of extraterrestrial life brought to earth; and trial runs to acquaint astronauts with methods for minimizing chance of contamination.

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