Buzz Aldrin, a former NASA astronaut, is no stranger to isolation, according tomedia CNET. When he, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins returned to Earth from their first moon landing in 1969, the three astronauts were quarantined for three weeks. During the new corona virus pandemic, Aldrin also decided to proceed with caution. Asked by Ars Technica what he was doing to protect himself from the virus, Aldrin said he was “lying in his house and locking the door.”
There is a good reason that 90-year-old Aldrin is among the most at-risk groups at risk of the disease. In 1969, NASA worried that bacteria or diseases that had “hitchhiked” with the capsule could cause a lunar plague on Earth. So, upon their return to Earth, the astronauts immediately put on their anti-pollution suits and were transported to Houston, where they spent the next three weeks in a modified air-flow trailer called the Mobile Isolation Facility (MQF).
Aldrin spoke about his experience in isolation and encouraged Americans who were already in quarantine to stay at home. But his experience with MQF doesn’t give confidence in NASA’s ability to prevent bacteria from leaking out of the isolation chamber. “Well, Michael Collins and I used to do some exercise and jog around the hallway,” he said. We looked at the cracks in the floor, and there were ants climbing in and out. “
MQF “retired” two years after the apollo 11 mission, when it was determined that there was no life on the moon, including pathogens.