After returning to Earth from the first manned mission to the Moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts were not exempt from the rules of international (or even interplanetary) travel. After splashing down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins filled out and signed a customs form.
The customs form filled out by the three astronauts was published by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2009 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The form, in which the astronauts listed their cargo as "moon rock and moon dust samples," is authentic but was meant as a joke. In reality, Apollo 11 landed 920 miles (1,480 km) southwest of Hawaii and they reached Pearl Harbor two days later with the help of the Navy ship USS Hornet. Meanwhile, the astronauts stayed in a NASA quarantine trailer in case they brought any diseases from the moon. The customs form documenting their departure from the moon and arrival to Hawaii remains a historic and amusing memento.
More about Apollo 11:
- The Apollo 11 astronauts had to be quarantined for three weeks immediately after returning from the Moon, due to concerns about diseases they might have brought back from their travels. In fact, President Nixon welcomed the astronauts while they were in their quarantine trailer.
- When Neil Armstrong first stepped on the Moon, the mission was actually five hours ahead of the original schedule.
- The American flag that was symbolically planted on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission was knocked over by flying debris when the "Eagle" Lunar Module blasted off to to return to Earth.