“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” -Neil Armstrong
It still boggles my mind when I think about it, every time I look up at the brightest object in our night sky.
After four-and-a-half billion years, life from Earth made it off of this planet, launching ourselves out of the Earth’s atmosphere and away from the bounds of Earth’s gravity.
After a more-than-200,000 mile journey, humanity touched down onto the surface of another world: our Moon.
For the first time, in July of 1969, life from our world set foot on another. For those 21 hours, the whole world marveled at just what a remarkable thing it was that we had achieved.
And probably an equally great achievement was successfully leaving the Moon for the return trip to Earth!
And it was no small accomplishment that, in fact, the entire crew returned safely to Earth, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean — 900 miles southwest of Hawaii — on July 24th, 1969.
Once they were recovered, it was a two day trip by Navy vessel back to Hawaii.
Of course, not knowing what might be on the lunar surface, the astronauts had to go through decontamination and quarantine, where they remained until August 13th, 1969.
But what was just unearthed recently surprised even me.
Because like you, me, and everyone who leaves the country, even to go to the Moon, the Apollo 11 astronauts had to go through customs!
This has been confirmed as the authentic customs and immigration form, and my favorite part of it is right here:
From Cape Kennedy to Honolulu, with a stopover on the Moon. Cargo: Moon Rock and Moon Dust Samples.
(At least they weren’t asked to declare the value of their cargo; where’s the checkbox for “priceless”?)
As NASA spokesperson Nicole Cloutier-Lemasters confirms:
The[y] do have a government passport, but they do have to go through customs. Just like the rest of us.