Local man shares lunar landing connection

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- 50 years ago, America made history with the first men to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.

But when the astronauts returned, the mission was not yet complete.

"When the sample came back, there was a quarantine of the astronauts and of the samples to see was there any potential pathogen in that extraterrestrial material that could cause harm to earth organisms," said Dr. Chris Lind.

Lind was in the Air Force during the late 1960s, and his expertise in botany, or plants, led him to Houston the summer of '69.

"Some of my visits down there I ran into their plant science people, and the lead plant scientist at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory, and he asked if I would join their team when the lunar samples came back from Apollo 11," said Lind.

During the two and a half week quarantine, Lind would expose plants to samples that were brought back from the moon and monitor the affects.

Tuesday night he gave a presentation of his experience, and the space race, at the Chippewa Valley Museum.

It's an experience his son grew up with.

"The lunar landing was an extraordinary accomplishment for anytime, really so far, and to think that we were able to do that and bring these people back to earth safety with things less powerful than what we carry in our pocket today is mind blowing," said Chippewa Valley Museum Communications Specialist Olaf Lind.

An estimated 400,000 people worked in some capacity on the Apollo 11 mission, and each played an important role.

50 years later, Lind is proud of his part in one giant leap for mankind.

"You carry with you the experiences of your lifetime and that was a time in my young life where I was doing something that I thought was of national significance, and I still think so today,' said Lind.