Apollo 11 Crew Cleared Customs After Splashdown

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2009 1:15 PM CDT
Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin after the July, 1969 Apollo 11 mission.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – What do you do when you’re the first men back from the moon and you have a cargo of moon rocks and other lunar specimens? Make a customs declaration, of course. Well, not really, Space.com reports. A customs form, filed in Honolulu and released by NASA to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11’s return to earth, bears the signatures of all three astronauts—who were quarantined on an aircraft carrier at the time.

"Yes, it's authentic," a NASA rep says of the document, which lists a starting point of Cape Canaveral with a stopover on the moon. "It was a little joke at the time." Nowadays, with the space program an international effort, astronauts are clearing customs for real as they travel the globe for training on disparate systems. “They do have to go through customs,” the rep says. "Just like the rest of us."