Former NASA astronaut Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin started a fundraiser to help fight the effects of COVID-19 in the US. The former astronaut recently started selling autographed copies of an Apollo 11 photo that shows the mission's crew members in quarantine after returning to Earth.

Aldrin, together with mission commander Neil Armstrong, were the first humans to set foot on the Moon. The historical event happened during the Apollo 11 mission, which was launched by NASA in 1969.

Apollo 11's Quarantine Procedure

File photo of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module ascent stage
File photo of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module ascent stage Reuters

Upon returning to Earth after completing their mission, Aldrin, Armstrong and command module pilot Michael Collins were subjected to a three-week quarantine procedure. It was conducted to ensure that they wouldn't infect Earth with pathogens from space. "NASA wanted to make sure we didn't bring back anything contagious from the Moon – so we socialized in a very small group, ourselves," Aldrin said in a statement. "Having taken "social distancing" to an extreme at the Moon, quarantine was manageable."

The quarantine was held inside a modified Airstream trailer. The moment was captured through a photo showing the three astronauts talking to former US President Richard Nixon while they were inside their quarantine chambers.

Raising Funds Against COVID-19

Apollo 11 Quarantine Procedure
Apollo 11 Quarantine Procedure NASA

Recently, Aldrin has started selling copies of the photo with his autograph through the Apollo Space Shop website. Only a hundred copies of the rare photo are being sold for $599.00 each. Aside from the photo, a certificate of authenticity will also be included in each purchase. According to Aldrin, the photos are being sold as part of a fundraiser for the Salvation Army. The proceeds will be used by the organization to help communities deal with the effects of the coronavirus and the lockdowns in different parts of the country.

"Like many of you, I want to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19 and have been self-quarantining for a while now," the former NASA astronaut said. "Being quarantined is never easy – I know! – but it's something we can all do for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and our country. Call it one small step for each of us, one giant leap for Mankind!"