Moon tree

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Bicentennial Moon Tree, planted in 1975 in Washington Square, Philadelphia
Moon Tree in front of Sebastian County Courthouse, in Fort Smith, Arkansas
Plaque at the base of the Fort Smith, Arkansas, Moon Tree.
Moon Tree, Waycross, Georgia

Moon trees are trees grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit around the Moon by Stuart Roosa, the Command Module Pilot on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. The idea was proposed to Roosa, who had been a smoke jumper, by Ed Cliff, then the Chief of the United States Forest Service.[1] Seeds for the experiment were chosen from five species of tree: loblolly pine, sycamore, sweetgum, redwood, and Douglas fir.[2][3][4][5][6]

History[edit]

After the flight, the seeds were sent to the southern Forest Service station in Gulfport, Mississippi, and to the western station in Placerville, California, with the intent to germinate them. Nearly all the seeds germinated successfully, and after a few years, the Forest Service had about 420 seedlings. Some of these were planted alongside their Earth-bound counterparts, which were specifically set aside as controls. After more than 40 years, there was no discernible difference between the two classes of trees. Most of the "Moon trees" were given away in 1975 and 1976 to state forestry organizations, in order to be planted as part of the nation's bicentennial celebration. Since the trees were all of southern or western species, not all states received trees. A Loblolly Pine was planted at the White House, and trees were planted in Brazil, Switzerland, and presented to Emperor Hirohito, among others.[2]

The locations of many of the trees that were planted from these seeds were largely unknown for decades. In 1996, a third-grade teacher, Joan Goble, and her students found a tree in their local area with a plaque identifying it as a moon tree. Goble sent an email to NASA, and reached employee Dave Williams. Williams was unaware of the trees' existence, as were most of his colleagues at NASA. Upon doing some research, Williams found some old newspaper clippings that described the initial actions taken by Roosa to bring these seeds to space and home to be planted.[3]

Williams posted a page on NASA's official website asking for public help to find the trees. The page also contained a table listing the locations and species of known moon trees. Williams began to hear from people around the United States who had seen trees with plaques identifying them as moon trees. Williams began to manage a database listing details about such trees, including their location and species. In 2011, an article in Wired magazine described the effort, and provided Williams' email address, encouraging anyone to write who might have data on existing moon trees.[4] As of 2022, efforts were continuing to identify and locate existing trees;[3] the NASA page remains active.[7]

In March 2021, the Royal Astronomical Society and the UK Space Agency asked for the help of the public to identify up to 15 Moon Trees that may be growing in the United Kingdom. As of April 2021, none of the trees that supposedly came to the UK have been identified.[8]

Current efforts[edit]

The Moon Tree Foundation is an organization run by Roosa's daughter, Rosemary, which seeks to plant moon trees in regions around the world. The foundation sponsors and hosts ceremonies to plant new trees, with seeds produced by the original generation of trees that grew from the seeds carried by Roosa.[9]

Locations[edit]

City and state Location Type of tree Planting date
Auburn University,
Alabama
G.W. Andrews Forestry Sciences Lab Loblolly Pine* 22 October 1976
Birmingham,
Alabama
Birmingham Botanical Garden Sycamore April 1976
Montgomery,
Alabama
State Capitol Loblolly Pine April 1976
Troy,
Alabama
Pioneer Museum of Alabama 5 August 1976
Tuscumbia,
Alabama
Ivy Green 19 October 1976
Flagstaff,
Arizona
Flagstaff Jr. High School Douglas Fir 30 April 1976
Tucson,
Arizona
Kuiper Space Sciences Building, University of Arizona Sycamore
Ft. Smith,
Arkansas
Sebastian County Courthouse Loblolly Pine 15 March 1976
Washington,
Arkansas
Old Washington Historic State Park
Arcata,
California
Humboldt State University 3 Redwoods
Berkeley,
California
Tilden Nature Area 2 Redwoods[10] 26 July 1976
Monterey,
California
Friendly Plaza Redwood July 1976
San Luis Obispo,
California
Mission Plaza 30 July 1976
Sacramento,
California
State Capitol
Cape Canaveral,
Florida
Kennedy Space Center Sycamore*[11] 25 June 1976
Gainesville,
Florida
University of Florida Sycamore
Keystone Heights,
Florida
Keystone Heights Library Sycamore[12] 1984
Perry,
Florida
Forest Capital Museum State Park Loblolly Pine 26 April 1978
Tallahassee,
Florida
Cascades Park Sycamore
Tallahassee,
Florida
Doyle Conner Building Loblolly Pine
Athens,
Georgia
Athens-Clarke County Planning Department May 1976
Waycross,
Georgia
Okefenokee Regional Educational Service Agency[13] ca. 1976
Boise,
Idaho
Lowell Elementary School 1977
Moscow,
Idaho
University of Idaho Sycamore
Cannelton,
Indiana
Camp Koch Girl Scout Camp 1976
Indianapolis,
Indiana
Indiana Statehouse 9 April 1976
Lincoln City,
Indiana
Lincoln State Park 1 May 1976
Tell City,
Indiana
Forest Service Office 2 Sweetgums 1976
Atchison,
Kansas
International Forest of Friendship Sycamore
Elmer,
Louisiana
Palustris Experimental Forest Loblolly Pine April 1976
Piedmont,
South Carolina
209 Green Leaf Lane Sycamore August, 1976
New Orleans,
Louisiana
New Orleans River Walk Loblolly Pine June 1983
Bethesda,
Maryland
Society of American Foresters 30 September 1975
Greenbelt,
Maryland
Goddard Space Flight Center Sycamore 9 June 1977
Holliston,
Massachusetts
Holliston Police Station April 1976
Lansing,
Michigan
State Capitol Weeping Beech 1976
Mississippi State,
Mississippi
The Junction Sycamore 1975
Waynesboro,
Mississippi
Forestry Commission Nursery
DeSoto,
Missouri
Walthers Park
Pisgah National Forest,
North Carolina
Cradle of Forestry in America
Asheville Botanical Garden,
North Carolina
UNC Asheville
South Brunswick,
New Jersey
South Brunswick High School
Jefferson County,
Ohio
Friendship Park 29 July 1976
Eugene,
Oregon
Erb Memorial Union, University of Oregon (Initially planted at Willamette Hall, moved in 1980) Douglas Fir 1976
Roseburg,
Oregon
U.S. Veteran's Hospital 3 May 1976
Corvallis,
Oregon
Peavy Hall, Oregon State University 1976
Salem,
Oregon
State Capitol 30 April 1976
Salem,
Oregon
Private Residence 2 Douglas Firs 1973
Ebensburg,
Pennsylvania
Cambria County Courthouse Sycamore 29 June 1976
Hollidaysburg,
Pennsylvania
Highland Hall 5 May 1976
King of Prussia,
Pennsylvania
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Building 30 June 1976
Newtown/Langhorne,
Pennsylvania
Core Creek Park 30 April 1976
Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania
Washington Square Sycamore* 6 May 1975
Knoxville,
Tennessee
University of Tennessee Loblolly Pine April 1976
Sewanee,
Tennessee
University of the South Sycamore
Tullahoma,
Tennessee
Arnold Air Force Base Loblolly Pine
Olympia,
Washington
State Capitol Douglas Fir
Huntsville,
Alabama
U.S. Space and Rocket Center 5 Sycamores,
2 Pines *
29 October 1976
Tuskegee,
Alabama
VA Hospital (CAVHCS) Loblolly Pine * 1976
Little Rock,
Arkansas
Forestry Commission Headquarters 15 March 1976
Monticello,
Arkansas
University of Arkansas at Monticello 1977?
New Orleans,
Louisiana
NASA Michoud Assembly Facility Loblolly Pine (2?) * July 1976
North Pembroke,
Massachusetts
Historical Society Sycamore? * April 1976
Albuquerque,
New Mexico
Civic Plaza Douglas Fir *
Illinois Valley,
Oregon
Siskiyou Smoke Jumper Base
Washington,
D.C.
White House Loblolly Pine * 19 January 1977
Plano, Texas Plano Senior High School Sycamore * 4 November 2009
Brasília,
Brazil
Ibama Central Building's garden Sweetgum 14 November 1980[14]
Santa Rosa,
Brazil
Parque Municipal de Exposições Redwood 18 August 1981
Tradate,
Italy
Appiano Gentile Park Loblolly Pine 10 October 2011
Bracey,
Virginia
River Ridge Golf & Camping Club Sycamore 31 January 1971
Doswell, Virginia Kings Dominion Sycamore circa 1976 [15]
Lucerne,
Switzerland
Swiss Transport Museum Sycamore 15 August 1976 (not planted until later)
Silver City,
New Mexico
Gough Park 14 August 1976[16]
Houston,
Texas
NASA Johnson Space Center Loblolly Pine February 2016[dubious ]

An asterisk (*) denotes a tree that is no longer alive.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williams, Gerald; Severance, Carol; Lewis, James G. (2009-06-18). "Chiefs of the U.S. Forest Service". Forest History Society. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  2. ^ a b Williams, David R. (28 July 2009). "The "Moon Trees"". Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  3. ^ a b c We Almost Forgot About the Moon Trees: A collection of tree seeds that went round and round the moon was scattered far and wide back home, by Marina Koren. The seeds orbited the Moon, but were not landed on it. The Atlantic, January 31, 2022.
  4. ^ a b The Mystery of the Missing Moon Trees: 15 years after NASA astronomer David Williams started searching for them, hundreds of trees grown from space-faring seeds are still missing. The “moon trees,” whose seeds circled the moon 34 times in Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa‘s pocket, were welcomed back to Earth with great fanfare in 1971. February 10, 2011, wired.com.
  5. ^ "Race Against Time to Find Apollo 14's Lost Voyagers: 'Moon Trees'". Science Daily. February 10, 2011.
  6. ^ Black, Richard (19 July 2005). "Trees... from the Moon". BBC News.
  7. ^ The "Moon Trees", official NASA website, accessed Feb 3, 2022.
  8. ^ Massey, Robert (2021-03-30). "Can you help us find the Moon Trees?". Royal Astronomical Society. Retrieved 2021-04-23.
  9. ^ Moon tree Planting ceremony, official website of Moon Tree Foundation, accessed February 3, 2022.
  10. ^ "'Moon trees' mark Tilden Regional Park". The Mercury News. 2015-11-27. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-19. Retrieved 2017-09-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Keystone Heights Moon Tree". Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  13. ^ Georgia Forestry Commission, Twitter, July 9, 2019
  14. ^ Correio Braziliense, November 15, 1980
  15. ^ "The Moon Tree That Orbited the Moon 34 Times". 4 May 2016.
  16. ^ 'Moon Tree' dedication here Sunday, Silver City Daily Press, August 14, 1976

External links[edit]