Occasionally, we run across articles or statements which are misleading, or flat out wrong. In a day of exposure to so much information, and such a plethora of platforms on which to post anything; we find all manner of fake news to close, but not quite on target stories.
One such misleading and close, but not on target story circulating in the UFO community is that Title 14 Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations makes it illegal for US citizens to have any contact with extraterrestrials or their vehicles. On July 16, 1969, NASA adopted the regulations found therein to formalize its “policy, responsibility, and authority to guard the Earth against any harmful contamination resulting from personnel, spacecraft and other property returning to the Earth after landing on or coming within the atmospheric envelope of a celestial body.” These regulations were implemented before the Apollo 11 mission, and provided legal authority for a quarantine period for the returning astronauts.
Just as a reminder, does anyone remember Michael Crichton’s 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain? There was a sample-gathering satellite that completed its job, returned to Earth, and innocently released deadly pathogens from space. Subsequently, a plague was ignited, capable of killing almost everyone exposed to it.
It was a reasonable precaution to quarantine astronauts on the first lunar mission. NASA wanted to prepare for “the remote possibility they could harbor unknown lunar organisms that could endanger life on earth”, and thus, Apollo 11 voyagers were kept in quarantine for 21 days after returning from the moon.
These regulations allowed for the protection of Earth from biological contamination from pathogens carried back by men or women, and any object, returning from space, by “enforcing a quarantine on any people, plant or animal life, or other material that had touched directly or come within the atmospheric envelope of any other celestial body.” Title 14, Section 1211 did not make it illegal for U.S. citizens to have any contact with extraterrestrials or their vehicles; it merely required those who had such contact to submit to a quarantine at the request of the government.
The regulations were removed from the CFR in 1991. All concerned concluded these laws had been effective, but no longer were needed. As of then, no one had to fear any repercussions from meeting, shaking hands with, or going for a ride in their friendly alien’s space craft. NASA has just asked that you don’t bring any contaminants back. Seems fair enough.
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