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The Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law
(14 CFR §1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...
) was the popular name for a United States administrative regulation promulgated in 1969 to prevent the spread of biological contamination from space. Implemented before the Apollo 11
In early 1969, Bill Anders accepted a job with the National Space Council effective in August 1969 and announced his retirement as an astronaut. At that point Ken Mattingly was moved from the support crew into parallel training with Anders as backup Command Module Pilot in case Apollo 11 was...
mission, it provided the legal authority for a quarantine period for the returning astronauts. The regulation included a definition of exposure as
- the state of condition of any person, property, animal or other form of life or matter whatever, who or which has touched directly or come within the atmospheric envelope or any other celestial body or touched directly or been in close proximity (or exposed indirectly to) any person, property, animal or other form of life or matter who or which has been extraterrestrially exposed by virtue of paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
Quarantining of astronauts on the first lunar missions was mandated in 1969 to prepare for "the remote possibility that they are harboring unknown lunar organisms that might endanger life on earth", and the Apollo 11 voyagers were kept in quarantine for 21 days after their return from the moon. After the completion of the Apollo 14
Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the American Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the "H missions", targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks....
mission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) stopped enforcing the regulation, though it remained on the books. On April 30, 1971, NASA's acting administrator, Dr. George M. Low
George Michael Low, born George Wilhelm Low was a NASA administrator and 14th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was born near Vienna, Austria to Artur and Gertrude Burger Low, small business people in Austria...
, was quoted as saying,
- On the basis of this analysis [of quarantine information from Apollo 14], as well as the results from the Apollo 11 and 12 flights, we have concluded there is no hazard to man, animals or plants in the lunar material... the interagency committee has recommended that further lunar missions need not be subject to quarantine"
The rule was formally removed from the Code of Federal Regulations in 1991.