3
$\begingroup$

During the Apollo program, measures were taken to prevent Earth microbes from contaminating the moon, and to prevent hypothetical moon life from infecting the Earth. What were the disinfectants used for these purposes, and were they the same for both purposes?

(Picture of Apollo fecal containment kit. The green packet is a germicidal disinfectant.) Apollo fecal kit

Background info

Section 8.5.2.1 of the Apollo Program Summary Report describes the measures to avoid contaminating the moon, some of which have been popular topics here:

  1. waste products such as feces, urine, and residual food
  2. viable terrestrial micro-organisms released during lunar module depressurization
  3. micro-organisms present in the lunar module waste-water system

Section 8.5.2.4 describes the measures taken to prevent infecting the Earth:

Swimmers assisted the crewmembers in egressing the command module. The swimmers were protected from potential lunar contamination by using their breathing apparatus during installation of the flotation collar on the command module. Furthermore, the swimmers sprayed areas of potential contamination, such as the hatch and docking areas, with a germicidal solution to decontaminate these areas before the hatch was opened.

...

Upon arrival at the primary recovery vessel, the helicopter was towed close to a mobile quarantine facility and the crewmembers and flight surgeon walked to the facility. The deck area traversed by the crewmembers during the transfer was decontaminated.

... The command module hatch was sealed after egress of the crewmen, and the area surrounding the hatch was decontaminated with a germicide. All decontamination equipment and the life rafts used by the Apollo crewmen were then sunk at sea.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.