Have You Ever Seen A ‘Moon Tree?’ Where You Can See A Curious Legacy Of NASA’s Apollo Missions 50 Years On

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Exactly 50 years in the past this weekend Apollo 14 left Fra Mauro crater on the Moon’s floor to start the three-day journey again to Earth of their spacecraft “Kitty Hawk.”

As effectively as 94 lbs/43 kg of moon rock the crew introduced house one thing largely misplaced to historical past—”Moon Trees.”

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What was Apollo 14?

Apollo 14—the third crewed mission that landed on the Moon—is usually remembered for its commander Alan Shepard taking part in golf on the Moon.

The first American to enter area a decade earlier, het turn into—at 47 years outdated—the oldest particular person to stroll on the Moon.

But did you ever hear about Apollo 14’s “Moon Trees?”

What is a ‘Moon Tree?’

Stowed within the baggage of Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa—who orbited the Moon whereas Shepard and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell walked on its floor—was a canister containing about 500 seeds of loblolly pine, candy gum, redwood, Douglas fir and sycamore.

Roosa had labored as a “smoke jumper”—a firefighter who parachutes into distant wild fires to turn into the primary line of protection—and wished to honor the U.S. Forest Service.

The concept was to see what impact weightlessness would have on the seeds. After orbiting the Moon 34 occasions and returning to Earth, the seeds have been germinated into about 420 seedlings. In 1975-76 they got to colleges, universities, parks and authorities places of work throughout the US.

Then the “Moon Trees” obtained misplaced.

So the place are they now?

Where are the ‘Moon Trees?’

Roosa’s “Moon Trees” are elusive. In reality, the places of solely about 56 dwelling “Moon Trees” are identified (and 13 identified to have died, together with a loblolly pine on the White House).

Is there a “Moon Tree” near you? The places are extremely random—they embrace police stations, scout camps and forest service places of work (in addition to Brazil, Japan and Switzerland). Those related to the US area program embrace:

  • A sycamore at Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland.
  • A sycamore at entrance to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
  • A loblolly pine within the grounds of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Florida.
  • Five sycamores and two pines on the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Alabama.

Many of them have a commemorative plaque on them—like this one—and lots of of them have spawned “Half-Moon Trees.”

What is a ‘Half-Moon Tree?’

“Half-Moon Trees” are bushes grown from the seeds of “Moon Trees.”

There are 24 identified “Half-Moon Trees” throughout the US, together with one in Arlington National Cemetery planted in 2005 on the thirty fourth anniversary of splashdown of the Apollo 14 mission.

Another was planted on the National Arboretum in Washington, DC in honor of “Earth Day” and the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo Program at NASA on April 22, 2009 (pictured above).

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“The historic voyages of the Apollo program were about bold exploration and incredible scientific discovery,” mentioned Brian Odom, performing NASA Chief Historian. “Apollo 14 included the widest range of scientific experiments to that point in the program.”

“But in the case of Roosa’s ‘Moon Trees’, it was what the astronauts took with them on their lunar journey that has left such an indelible mark on the landscape back on Earth.”

Wishing you clear skies and vast eyes.

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