Here is something different.This Moon tree is one grown
from astronaut seeds which were exposed to cosmic rays. This
unremarkable-looking tree has a remarkable story.
On the Apollo
14 mission in 1971, Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa carried hundreds of seeds
to the moon in his personal kit. Roosa had been a U.S. Forest Service smoke
jumper before he joined NASA and the seeds were part of an experiment to see if
exposure to radiation in space would affect their subsequent germination and
growth. Seeds were chosen from five different types of trees: Loblolly Pine,
Sycamore, Sweetgum, Redwood, and Douglas Fir. Corresponding control seeds were
kept on Earth for later comparison.
Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were exploring the lunar surface (during which time
Shepard became the first man to play golf on the moon), Roosa spent 33 hours
orbiting overhead taking photos of the lunar surface and doing radar and
gravitational experiments. In all, he and the seeds orbited 34 times.
Upon Apollo 14’s return to Earth the seeds were
germinated and after a few years the Forest Service had over 400 seedlings.
Some of these were planted with their earthbound counterparts as controls but
most were given away in 1975 and 1976 to many state forestry organizations to
be planted as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration. These trees were
southern and western species, so not all states received trees. Monterey’s Moon
Tree is a Redwood.
A Loblolly Pine was planted at the White House, and trees were
planted in Brazil and Switzerland among other places. However, no comprehensive
list was ever kept of the disposition of all of the trees so the locations of
many of them are unknown.
no significant difference was ever observed between the trees whose seeds were
carried into space and those which remained here on Earth.
Roosa passed away at the age of 61 on December 12, 1994, but today the Moon
Trees are a fitting memorial to him and a tribute to the human spirit.
Clancy's comment: Wow. Nice looking tree, eh?
Interesting. Who knew!ReplyDelete
I agree, Tamian. Most school kids would be enchanted by this.Delete