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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bumper Crop of Moon Trees

Don't run for the plant dictionary yet because they won't be in it. Moon trees is the name given to the trees grown from seeds that were taken to the moon on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971.

Astronaut Stuart Roosa had worked for the U.S. Forest Service and was passionately interested in trees. Each astronaut was allowed to take something personal, so he took 500 tree seeds. If Alan Shepard could play golf on the moon, what's a few hundred seeds by comparison? Roosa wanted to see what would happen to them in a zero-gravity environment.

He took 5 species of tree seeds with him: the Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Sweetgum, Redwood, and Douglas Fir. He wanted to figure out how to "bridge the gap between space science and environmental science."

The seeds circled the moon 34 times. Scientists were curious as to whether the seeds would germinate and the resultant trees would look normal.

link: Moon Trees Grow Across the U.S. : TreeHugger


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