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Moon Trees

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Joined: 2009-08-07

Came across these stories, thought they might be interesting. Many were planted in 1976 for our July 4th Bicentennial. See if there is one in your area:

GREENBELT, Md. (WUSA) - When Apollo 14 lifted off back in 1971, on board were three astronauts and about 400 seeds.

"They brought along seeds for Sycamore, Loblolly Pine, Sweet Gum, Redwoods, and Douglas Fir," said Dave Williams, a scientist at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center.

"Back in 1996, I got an email from a third grade teacher in Indiana who was doing a project with her class on trees, and there was a tree in their area that had a little plaque on it that said it was a Moon Tree, and it said something about Apollo 14," said Williams. "I'd never heard of Moon Trees before. This was new to me."

Dave asked around, and it turned out those seeds had been planted all over the country, including one at the NASA Goddard Visitor's Center in Greenbelt.

"Our Moon Tree is doing really well," said Williams.

The problem is no one kept a record of where the other Moon Trees were. So for the past 15 years, Williams has been searching for the lost Moon Trees.

"So far, I've found about 80 and about 70 of them are still alive," said Williams.

In addition to the Moon Tree at the NASA Goddard Visitor's Center, there are two other Moon Trees in the greater Washington area. One is in Bethesda at the Society of American Foresters. The other is on private land in Loudoun County.

"What is it about these trees? Why are they so cool?" asked Williams. "I think the answer is that somehow to make the connection between these very commonplace, very earthy, very stable trees to something as amazing as going to the moon on Apollo is fascinating to people. It's fascinating to me at least."

You can find a list of all known Moon Trees here:

(I want that photo!!!)

(partial) "The trees were grown from seeds that astronaut Stuart Roosa took with him on Apollo 14's mission to the moon. Roosa had been a smokejumper -- a firefighter who parachutes directly into wildfires -- before becoming an astronaut.

Astronauts are allowed to bring a dozen personal items, with a maximum total weight of 1.5 pounds, on their missions. Typically they opt to carry coins, jewelry, stamps and other items suitable for souvenirs.

But a slice of fabric from the Wright brothers' original plane flew aboard Apollo 11, a piece of Captain James Cook's Endeavour ship was in the Apollo 15 lunar module, an astronomical apparatus built in Persia in the 17th century was onboard a Columbia shuttle, and Story Musgrave took a chunk of rock from Stonehenge on his 1990 flight.

When Roosa blasted off on Jan. 31, 1971, he took a six-inch metal cylinder containing seeds from redwood, loblolly pine, sycamore, Douglas fir and sweet gum trees. According to mission records, the seeds orbited the moon 34 times. "


NC -- Asheville Botanical Gardens Sycamore Moon Tree

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