The Extraterrestrial Exposure Law
On 16 July 1969, a United States law was passed called the
"Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law" that made it illegal for the public
to come in contact with extra-terrestrials or their vehicles. (Title
14, Section 1211 of the Code of Federal Regulations). Anyone found
guilty of such contact could face up to one year imprisonment as well
as a fine of $5000. Also, any individual who had been "exposed" could
be quarantined under armed guard by the NASA administrator without a
1211.100 Title 14 - Aeronautics and Space
Part 1211 - Extra-terrestrial Exposure
1211.100 - Scope
This part establishes:
1. NASA policy, responsibility and authority to guard the Earth
against any harmful contamination or adverse changes in its
environment resulting from personnel, spacecraft and other property
returning to the Earth after landing on or coming within the
atmospheric envelope of a celestial body;
2. and security requirements, restrictions and safeguards that are
necessary in the interest of national security.
1211.101 - Applicability
The provisions of this part to all NASA manned and unmanned space
missions which land or come within the atmospheric envelope of a
celestial body and return to the Earth.
1211.102 - Definitions
a. "NASA" and the "Administrator" mean, respectively the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration and the administrator of the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration or his authorized
b. "Extra-terrestrially exposed" means the state of condition of any
person, property, animal or other form of life or matter whatever, who
or which has:
1. Touched directly or come within the atmospheric envelope or any
other celestial body
2. Touched directly or been in close proximity to (or been exposed
indirectly to ) any person, property, animal or other form of life or
matter who or which has been extra-terrestrially exposed by virtue of
paragraph (b)(1) of this section. For example, if person or thing "A"
touches the surface of the Moon, and on "A's" return to Earth, "B"
touches "A" and, subsequently, "C" touches "B", all of these - "A"
through "C" inclusive - would be extra-terrestrially exposed ("A" and
"B" directly; "C" indirectly).
c. "Quarantine" means the detention, examination and decontamination
of any persons, property, animal or other form of life or matter
whatever that is extra-terrestrially exposed, and includes the
apprehension or seizure of such person, property, animal or other form
of life or matter whatever.
d. "Quarantine period" means a period of consecutive calendar days as
may be established in accordance with 1211.104
The Administrator or his designee..shall in his discretion:
1. Determine the beginning and duration of a quarantine period with
respect to any space mission; the quarantine period as it applies to
various life forms will be announced.
2. Designate in writing quarantine officers to exercise quarantine
3. Determine that a particular person, property, animal, or other form
of life or matter whatever is extra- terrestrially exposed and
quarantine such person, property, animal, or other form of life or
matter whatever. The quarantine may be based only on a determination,
with or without the benefit of a hearing, that there is probable cause
to believe that such person, property, animal or other form of life or
matter whatever is extra- terrestrially exposed.
4. Determine within the United States or within vessels or vehicles of
the United States the place, boundaries, and rules of operation of
necessary quarantine stations.
5. Provide for guard services by contract or otherwise, as many be
necessary, to maintain security and inviolability of quarantine
stations and quarantined persons, property, animals or other form of
life or matter whatever.
6. Provide for the subsistence, health and welfare of persons
quarantined under the provisions of this part.
7. Hold such hearings at such times, in such manner and for such
purposes as may be desirable or necessary under this part, including
hearings for the purpose of creating a record for use in making any
determination under this part for the purpose of reviewing any such
1. During any period of announced quarantine, no person shall enter or
depart from the limits of the quarantine station without permission of
the cognizant NASA officer. During such period, the posted perimeter
of a quarantine station shall be secured by armed guard.
2. Any person who enters the limits of any quarantine station during
the quarantine period shall be deemed to have consented to the
quarantine of his person if it is determined that he is or has become
3. At the earliest practicable time, each person who is quarantined by
NASA shall be given a reasonable opportunity to communicate by
telephone with legal counsel or other persons of his choice.
1211.107 Court or other process
a. NASA officers and employees are prohibited from discharging from
the limits of a quarantine station any quarantined person, property,
animal or other form of life or matter whatever during order or other
request, order or demand an announced quarantine period in compliance
with a subpoena, show cause or any court or other authority without
the prior approval of the General Counsel and the Administrator.
b. Where approval to discharge a quarantined person, property, animal
or other form of life or matter whatever in compliance with such a
request, order or demand of any court or other authority is not given,
the person to whom it is directed shall, if possible, appear in court
or before the other authority and respectfully state his inability to
comply, relying for his action on this 1211.107.
Whoever willfully violates, attempts to violate, or conspires to
violate any provision of this part or any regulation or order issued
under this part or who enters or departs from the limits of a
quarantine station in disregard of the quarantine rules or regulations
or without permission of the NASA quarantine officer shall be fined
not more that $5,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.