Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong Declared Rocks and Dust at U.S. Customs After Walking on the Moon

On July 24, 1969, the command module Columbia landed in waters 812 miles southwest of Hawai‘i.
photo: courtesy of nasa


In the raft, astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and a U.S. Navy underwater demolition swimmer, Lt. Clancy Hatleberg, suited up in biological isolation outfits and waited for the USS Hornet, bringing an end to the first mission to walk on the moon. Once onboard, the men, sequestered in a quarantine unit, watched through a window as hula dancers and about 5,000 people greeted them at Pearl Harbor—that is, after going through U.S. customs (they declared moon rocks and dust).


The state archives and Windward Community College will mark the 50th anniversary of the mission with a special exhibit and festival on July 20 at WCC.