Trees in History- Trees from the Moon!

Trees Growing in Indiana from the Moon!

There are trees growing in Indiana from the Moon! “What”, you say, “Trees don’t grow on the moon!” True, but during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, which included Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa, the astronauts were allowed to take a personal kit. Many remember Alan Shepard’s famous golf shot from the surface of the moon but few remember that Stuart Roosa carried 400-500 seeds in his kit as he orbited the moon.

Moon tree and park office.

Upon return to earth it was thought that the seeds were lost because the canister that they were in burst open during decontamination but afterwards they successfully germinated and the seedlings were used to mark the American Bi-Centennial in 1976. Unfortunately, records were not kept as to where the seedlings were sent, but some known plantings include the White House, Valley Forge, Washington Square in Philadelphia, Brazil, Switzerland and possibly Japan.

In Indiana, a sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) was sent to Camp Koch Girl Scout Camp, a sycamore was sent to Lincoln State Park, two sweetgums (Liquidambar styraciflua) were sent to the U.S. Forest Service for their office at Tell City and a sycamore was sent to the State House in Indianapolis.

Seedlings were in hot demand for the bi-centennial as Senators and other dignitaries clambered for a tree from “out of this world”.

The project became known as the “Moon Tree Project”. If you know of another Moon Tree please contact Dave Williams at NASA. Dave.williams@nasa.gov

~ by daniel on February 1, 2011.

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