Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

<p>NASA Image of Buzz Aldrin and US Flag on the Moon&nbsp;</p>
Image courtesy of NASA

On 20 July 1969 history was made as the first humans set foot on the moon. Despite this historic and groundbreaking achievement, the moonwalk was only one of the challenges of the Apollo 11 mission. After their successful space mission, the three astronauts and their command module Columbia had to return to Earth. Though the earlier Gemini and Apollo missions had pioneered the process for the return to Earth, the byproducts of the moonwalk presented its own unique sets of challenges. No one knew what types of pathogens inhabited the moon’s surface and what the astronauts could potentially bring back with them to Earth. As a precaution, the Apollo 11 return trip required more logistical planning than previous missions to maintain a quarantine of the astronauts. This is a selection of artifacts related to the Apollo 11 mission and the recovery of the astronauts by the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CVS-12) and her detachments.