Kuiper sits in front of an Airstream trailer with a sign reading "Authorized Personnel Only. U.S. Government Quarantine Station."

Apollo 11 Quarantine, Day 3

QUARANTINE, DAY 3. Kuiper poses with an Apollo Mobile Quarantine Facility aboard the USS Hornet. Thanks @usshornetmuseum for letting Kuiper make a special visit.

This is the actual mobile quarantine trailer used by the crew of Apollo 14 (after which we decided the process was unnecessary.) This Airstream is identical to the one our Apollo 11 friends are stuck in for a bit.

We’re pretty sure they’re fine, but we’re not 100%. Just in case they came back with some kind of infectious Moon flu, we’re going to keep them isolated for a couple more weeks. It could be worse: according to Mission Control chatter shortly after splashdown, one doctor was lobbying for a quarantine of EIGHTEEN MONTHS. Hard pass.

At 5 pm Pacific today, we’ll offload our Airstream (and Columbia) from the Hornet. At 2 am, we’ll arrive at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory in Houston where our astronauts will have a lot more space (and about 20 new friends.) In the meantime, we’ve least given them a window and a telephone so that they can chat with their families. The day before yesterday, they had a visit from President Nixon (who looked pleased as punch that they made it back safe.)

While our astronauts are playing the ukelele (Armstrong) and reading Steinbeck (Collins) to pass the time, we’ll also expose some unsuspecting mice to some of our lunar soil samples. We’ll keep a close eye on the mice to see how they’re feeling (don’t worry, they’ll be fine.)

(Side note: @astromichaelcollins noted recently to @pbs that Columbia’s hatch was opened while they were still bobbing around in the Pacific. He said that exposing the inside of the spacecraft to the open air kind of defeated the entire purpose of the quarantine… That is not something I had previously considered ?)

Our astronauts will get their sweet, sweet freedom back on August 10, and I’m putting myself into semi quarantine until then. ? I have some things to catch up on around here, and we’ll also be completely out of cell range for a week at Oregon Star Party.

OSP is (well-behaved) dog friendly, on-site registration is still available, and it has some of the best stargazing you’ll find in North America! Hope to see you there.

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/B0ZOfr9Fpkh/

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