Partly True: Neil Armstrong had to clear customs after returning from the Moon.

By: Ranjini K
December 11 2020

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Partly_True: Neil Armstrong had to clear customs after returning from the Moon.


The Verdict Partly_True

The customs form was real but meant in jest.

Claim ID 0d4a1f69

The customs form was real but meant in jest.American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969. After coming back to Earth, Armstrong and his fellow astronauts (Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins) were greeted with a more mundane aspect of life—going through customs. The trio declared Moon rocks, Moon dust, and other lunar samples, according to the customs form filed at the Honolulu Airport in Hawaii on July 24, 1969—the day the Apollo 11 crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. All three Apollo 11 astronauts signed the customs form, declared their cargo, and listed their flight route as starting Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral) in Florida with a stopover on the Moon. The form was posted to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website in 2009 to mark the Apollo 11 mission's 40th anniversary. A copy was obtained by at the time and verified by NASA. "Yes, it's authentic," NASA spokesperson John Yembrick told However, while this form is authentic, it was essentially a joke. Yembrick told as much: “It was a little joke at the time,’ he said. Apollo 11 landed 1,480 km southwest of Hawaii and 21 km from the USS Hornet, a Navy ship sent to recover the crew. It took them two more days to reach Hawaii on July 26. Today, NASA astronauts do actually have to go through customs, but only when headed for the International Space Station.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before