When NASA quarantined the astronauts

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/10/when-nasa-quarantined-the-astr.html


I wonder if any of the reporters who interviewed the astronauts through the glass asked “how does it feel to finally get out of that diaper?”


The Hornet is a floating mueseum on the shore of Oakland (Alameda actually) and still has the capsule there. Fascinating - the thing is frikkin huge, and is only like 75% the size of a modern carrier. The docent told us he’s been doing tours on it for years and could still get himself lost in the magazines deep in the ship.

There’s also a decommissioned F-14 tomcat on the deck you can walk right up to and touch.

Highly reccomend checking it out.


First in with this kid-bit: The isolation chambers that the astronauts stayed in on the carrier were made from Airstream trailer caravans! Because of their monocoque structure they were practical to seal from the inside after gutting them, and then reinstalling the living bits back into them.

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I just came here to say that! I live in Alameda.

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Buzz Aldrin has been quoted as saying the quarantine was pretty much a joke, as there were ants crawling into the chamber through a crack in the floor.




Which is weird because NASA had vacuum chamber big enough to test a full size lunar module, as if it was sitting on the lunar surface. You’d think they could improvise something (maybe a saturn 5 fuel tank?) inside a vacuum chamber pumped down to 0.9 atmospheres, with umbilicals for power and air.

It probably just wasn’t given enough priority.

yes - thanks

I stayed aboard the Hornet during a father/son thing a few years ago. Wouldn’t do it again only because of the spartan and super crowded conditions we had for the sleeping arrangements. Entire room of farty dads four-deep in these swinging bunks. Sure gives an appreciation for the sailors that had to endure that.

The tours were awesome, I’d like to visit it again just because we didn’t get to see enough of it.

But this post is about the quarantine! Watched the entire video, it was pretty fascinating. My dad worked at Cape Canaveral around that time, and I seem to recall him saying something about how the threat of space germs were a real fear back then.

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Well, these days they quarantine them before they launch:


Just to be clear, the Apollo 11 crew were quarantined for 21 days before launch. Although perhaps not for the reason you may imagine. It was to ensure that any post-mission symptoms weren’t preexisting. Interesting reading actually.

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I thought of Buzz Aldrin’s disdain for the quarentine when I was watching Braindead. Space Bugs!

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