Just a couple of days ago, July 24th, it was 52 years since the Apollo 11 astronauts splashed down on their return to earth from the moon. And, just like every other traveler returning to the US, they filled out a customs form! Here is what it looked like and the items they claimed on their return!
Apollo 11 Astronauts Filled Out This Customs Form
Of course in the digital age we are in now, and thanks to things like Global Entry, many Americans returning to the US do not have to fill out a physical customs form. But, back in 1969, even astronauts filled out a customs form when they returned to the US – from the moon!
— Dr. Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 28, 2021
Fun fact, even modern day astronauts fill out these forms as well since their launches and returns often take place through other countries.
NASA said that this had indeed been filled out and signed by all three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. They said it had been a little bit of a joke at the time and it does poke a bit of fun at the well-known nature of bureaucracy! Speaking of which, Jack Swigert on the famous Apollo 13 spacecraft had forgotten to file his taxes in time because they had been the backup crew and were thrust to the primary so quickly. Check out this transcript here when he asks about the taxes and the hilarious comments from Mission Control.
Here is a copy of their original customs form that the three astronauts signed.
I love that they did this – and check out their route! Departing Cape Kennedy and then the Moon followed by their arrival back into the US at Honolulu. I really like their notes under cargo as well: Moon Rock, Moon Dust, and Samples. In all, the crew had brought back 50 moon rocks and a total of 47 pounds of lunar material (which included the moon rocks). Some of the rocks were given to nations as goodwill gestures with some disappearing and still being missing to this day. You know how we have that part about value of items we bring into the US? Good thing they did not have to fill that part out! Try millions of dollars in value – or more!
The crew was kept in isolation for three weeks as it was unknown what diseases/germs they may have brought back with them. When they saw President Nixon, it was from their isolation chamber when they arrived onboard the recovery ship, the USS Hornet.
So, remember this story next time you have to fill out a customs form of your own! 🙂
Featured image courtesy of NASA