The astronaut's carrying the moon rocks (lunar meteorites) with them, only went up to Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), to the safe zone between the inner and outer Van Allen Belts. Remained there a couple of days, took some pictures of earth, sent a probe to the moon, and then returned safely back home with the moon rocks.
NASA: The safe zone offers reduced radiation intensities to any potential spacecraft that must fly in the radiation belt region....The safe zone appears as a gap between the inner and outer 'donut,' beginning about 7,000 km (4,350 miles) and ending about 13,000 km (8,110 miles) above the Earth's surface.
The moon is 385 000 km (240 000 miles) away from Earth.
Picture of Earth from the safe zone.