Do astronauts still have to be quarantined when they return to Earth?

astronaut photo

Question from Debbie Swanson

No one knew what to expect when humans first visited the Moon. People thought that astronauts might return to Earth with new diseases. So when the astronauts from Apollo 11, 12 and 14 came home they went into isolation for three weeks. This gave doctors and scientists time to check them for signs of infection. It soon became clear that there weren’t any microbes living on the Moon, so there was no need to quarantine astronauts when they arrived home. However, today they still go through a period of quarantine before they travel. This helps to make sure they are free from infection so that they don’t become sick during their mission.

Answered by Laura Mears for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 111 

To feature in our Brain Dump section, send us your questions to [email protected] or message us on Facebook or Twitter

For more science and technology articles, pick up the latest copy of How It Works from all good retailers or from our website now. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, subscribe today!