Sunday, April 12, 2020

Vox and Vintage Space explain why Apollo 11's crew was quarantined for Yuri's Night 2020

Not only is today Easter, but it's also Yuri's Night, the anniversary of the first crewed space flight and the first operational launch of the space shuttle.  As I noted four years ago, it's the first of two space days in a row I observe on this blog with Yuri's Night celebrating the promise of space and Apophis Day examining its perils.  For this year's edition of Yuri's Night, I'm looking at both the promise and peril of space through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic with a history lesson from two of my favorite YouTube channels, Vox and The Vintage Space.  Both of them cooperated in Vox's Why NASA quarantined the Apollo 11 astronauts.

In this episode of History Club, Vox's Phil Edwards and Coleman Lowndes chat with Amy Shira Teitel of The Vintage Space about the Apollo 11 quarantine.
It was an unusual process for an unprecedented task: keeping potential moon germs from entering the Earth’s atmosphere (and affecting its population).

To try to isolate the Apollo astronauts from the Earth, NASA went to extraordinary lengths. They clothed them in “Biological Isolation Garments,” transported them on a converted Airstream trailer, and then quarantined them for weeks in a Lunar Receiving Lab specially built to analyze moon samples and, of course, the men who went there.

The quarantine was a strange capstone to the journey to the moon — but also a necessary one that’s surprisingly resonant today.
Vox recommended The Vintage Space, so I'm sharing Amy Shira Teitel's How Apollo Astronauts Passed Time in Quarantine, which she produced first.

If only our period of staying at home lasted a mere three weeks with celebrations afterwards.  Who knows, after months to more than a year of social distancing and working from home, we'll celebrate, too, just like the participants in Yuri's Night last year in Los Angeles!

Watch this video to see all of the awesome things that happened at Yuri's Night Los Angeles 2019 - there is so much to do that you literally can't see, hear, and do it all!
Now, that's a party!  Too bad this year's was virtual, not real.  Next year.

That's it for both Easter and Yuri's Night.  Stay tuned for Apophis Day, my version of Asteroid Day, when I warn of dangers from space — other than plagues.

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