Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin & Michael Collins Go Through Customs and Sign Immigration Form After the First Moon Landing (1969)

Apollo-11-Immigration-02

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I’m not saying Man of Steel depressed me, but I found myself pining for Richard Donner’s sense of humor recently as I watched Zack Snyder’s take on Superman for the first time. I thought of a scene—Superman has to go through immigration once he’s discovered. They won’t let him in. He’s too high-minded to resist, so he sleeps in an airport waiting room for six months. Plenty of dramatic potential there.

Less preposterous but still absurd is the story around the document above, signed by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins after they landed from the first manned trip to the moon. The three astronauts came down in the Pacific Ocean and were taken to Honolulu on July 24, 1969, where they supposedly signed the immigration form, declaring a cargo of moon rocks and dust.

The form, NASA spokesperson John Yembrick told Space.com, is authentic. And, he says, it was a joke. He does not, however, say exactly when the form was signed, either on the day the crew splashed down or sometime afterward. They did not actually arrive in Honolulu until the 26th. After their return,

The astronauts were trapped inside a NASA trailer as part of a quarantine effort just in case they brought back any germs or disease from the moon. They even wore special biological containment suits when they walked out on the deck of the USS Hornet after being retrieved. 

NASA transported them to Houston, quarantine trailer and all, and they emerged from isolation three weeks later.

Astronauts these days mostly just need a shower when they touch down, although internet savvy International Space Station astronaut Chris Hadfield did recently tell some customs related stories on a Reddit AMA—maybe nothing so weird as the current space snorkeling up there, but still a pretty great read.

Related Content:

“Moon Hoax Not”: Short Film Explains Why It Was Impossible to Fake the Moon Landing

Michio Kaku Schools Takes on Moon Landing-Conspiracy Believer on His Science Fantastic Podcast

Dark Side of the Moon: A Mockumentary on Stanley Kubrick and the Moon Landing Hoax

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness



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  1. Jan Wolitzky says . . . | December 23, 2013 / 6:36 am

    I understand why Armstrong and Aldrin had to sign the form, but why Michael Collins? He flew from Cape Kennedy to Honolulu (more or less) without ever leaving his vehicle. A domestic flight, in effect. Never set foot on the moon, so that signed declaration that his flight departed the moon must be fraudulent!

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