[Image of Moon Tree at Camp Koch, Indiana] [Image of Stuart Roosa] [Goddard Moon Tree]

The "Moon Trees"


Apollo 14 launched in the late afternoon of January 31, 1971 on what was to be our third trip to the lunar surface. Five days later Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell walked on the Moon while Stuart Roosa, a former U.S. Forest Service smoke jumper, orbited above in the command module. Packed in small containers in Roosa's personal kit were hundreds of tree seeds, part of a joint NASA/USFS project. Upon return to Earth, the seeds were germinated by the Forest Service. Known as the "Moon Trees", the resulting seedlings were planted throughout the United States (often as part of the nation's bicentennial in 1976) and the world. They stand as a tribute to astronaut Roosa and the Apollo program.

The project began after Roosa was chosen for the Apollo 14 mission. Ed Cliff, Chief of the Forest Service, knew of Stuart Roosa from his days as a smoke jumper and contacted him about bringing seeds into space. Stan Krugman of the Forest Service was put in charge of the project and selected the seeds for the experiment. Seeds were chosen from five different types of trees: Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Sweetgum, Redwood, and Douglas Fir. The seeds were classified and sorted, and control seeds were kept on Earth for later comparison. Roosa carried about 400 - 500 seeds in his personal kit which stayed with him as he orbited the Moon in the command module "Kitty Hawk" in February, 1971. Unfortunately, the seed cannisters burst open during the decontamination procedures after their return to Earth, and the seeds got mixed together and were presumed to be no longer viable.

Stan Krugman had the seeds sent to the southern Forest Service station in Gulfport, Mississippi and to the western station in Placerville, California to attempt germination. Surprisingly, nearly all the seeds germinated successfully, and the Forest Service had some 420 to 450 seedlings after a few years (some from cuttings). Some of these were planted with their earth-bound counterparts as controls, (as would be expected, after over twenty years there is no discernable difference) 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. A Loblolly Pine was planted at the White House, and trees were planted in Brazil, Switzerland, and presented to the Emperor of Japan, among others. Trees have also been planted in Washington Square in Philadelphia, at Valley Forge, in the International Forest of Friendship, and at various universities and NASA centers. The Moon Tree shown at top left is a sycamore growing at Koch Girl Scout Camp in Cannelton, Indiana and at top right at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. A list of Moon Tree locations can be found at the bottom of the page.

Stuart Roosa was born on 16 August 1933, in Durango, Colorado. He worked for the Forest Service in the early 1950's as a smoke jumper fighting fires and later joined the Air Force and became a test pilot. He was one of 19 people selected for the astronaut class of 1966 and was part of the astronaut support crew for Apollo 9. Following Apollo 14, Roosa was backup command module pilot for Apollo's 16 and 17. He then worked on the Space Shuttle program until his retirement as a Colonel in the Air Force in 1976, the time when many of his trees were being planted.

Sadly, Stuart Roosa passed away in December, 1994. The Moon Trees continue to flourish, a living monument to our first visits to the Moon and a fitting memorial to Stuart Roosa. Believed locations of some Moon Trees are listed below, but no list was ever kept nor any systematic tracking made of the disposition of all the trees. If you know of a Moon Tree, please send a message to dave.williams@nasa.gov.


[Image of Moon Tree Plaque at Camp Koch, Indiana] [Image of Moon Tree Plaque at Goddard]

Moon Tree Locations

City and State Location Type of Tree Planting Date
Birmingham,
Alabama
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Sycamore 25 February 1976
Montgomery,
Alabama
State Capitol Loblolly Pine April, 1976
Troy,
Alabama
Pioneer Museum of Alabama Loblolly Pine 5 August 1976
Tuscumbia,
Alabama
Ivy Green Loblolly Pine 19 October 1976
Flagstaff,
Arizona
Flagstaff Jr. High School Douglas Fir 30 April 1976
University of Arizona, Tucson
Arizona
Kuiper Space Sciences Building Sycamore 30 April 1976
Ft. Smith,
Arkansas
Sebastian County Courthouse Loblolly Pine 15 March 1976
Washington,
Arkansas
Old Washington Historic State Park Loblolly Pine 15 March 1976
Arcata,
California
Humboldt State University 3 Redwoods  
Berkeley,
California
Tilden Nature Area Redwood 26 July 1976
El Dorado Hills,
California
St. Stephen's Lutheran Church Redwood 1976
Lockeford,
California
Lockeford Plant Materials Center Redwood 1979
Monterey,
California
Friendly Plaza Redwood July 1976
Sacramento,
California
Capitol Park Redwood 1976
San Dimas,
California
Technology & Development Center Redwood 29 March 1977
San Luis Obispo,
California
Mission Plaza Redwood 30 July 1976
Cape Canaveral,
Florida
Kennedy Space Center Sycamore 25 June 1976
Gainesville,
Florida
University of Florida Sycamore  
Keystone Heights,
Florida
Keystone Heights Library Sycamore 1984
Perry,
Florida
Forest Capital State Park Loblolly Pine 26 April 1978
Tallahassee,
Florida
Cascades Park Sycamore  
Tallahassee,
Florida
Doyle Conner Building Loblolly Pine  
Boise,
Idaho
Lowell Elementary School Loblolly Pine 1977
Cannelton,
Indiana
Camp Koch Girl Scout Camp Sycamore 1976
Indianapolis,
Indiana
Indiana Statehouse Sycamore 9 April 1976
Lincoln City,
Indiana
Lincoln State Park Sycamore 1 May 1976
Tell City,
Indiana
Forest Service Office 2 Sweetgums 1976
Atchison,
Kansas
International Forest of Friendship Sycamore 24 July 1986
Elmer,
Louisiana
Palustris Experimental Forest Loblolly Pine April 1976
Bethesda,
Maryland
Society of American Foresters Loblolly Pine 30 September 1975
Greenbelt,
Maryland
Goddard Space Flight Center Sycamore 9 June 1977
Holliston,
Massachusetts
Holliston Police Station Sycamore April 1976
Mississippi St. Univ.,
Mississippi
Dorman Hall Sycamore 1975
Waynesboro,
Mississippi
Forestry Commission Nursery Sycamore  
DeSoto,
Missouri
Walther Park Sycamore  
Monmouth County,
New Jersey
Monmouth County Courthouse Sycamore  
Asheville,
North Carolina
Botanical Gardens at Asheville Sycamore 19 March 1976
Pisgah National Forest,
North Carolina
Cradle of Forestry Sycamore  
Jefferson County,
Ohio
Friendship Park Sycamore 29 July 1976
University of Oregon, Eugene
Oregon
Erb Memorial Union Douglas Fir  
Roseburg,
Oregon
U.S. Veteran's Hospital Douglas Fir 3 May 1976
Oregon State University, Corvallis
Oregon
Peavy Hall Douglas Fir 1976
Salem,
Oregon
State Capitol Building Douglas Fir 30 April 1976
Salem,
Oregon
Private Residence 2 Douglas Firs 1973
Dillsburg,
Pennsylvania
Dillsburg Elementary School Sycamore 30 April 1976
Ebensburg,
Pennsylvania
Cambria County Courthouse Sycamore 29 June 1976
Hollidaysburg,
Pennsylvania
Highland Hall Sycamore 5 May 1976
King of Prussia,
Pennsylvania
Lockheed Martin Sycamore 30 June 1976
Newtown/Langhorne,
Pennsylvania
Core Creek Park Sycamore 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 April 1976
Elizabethton,
Tennessee
Sycamore Shoals State Park Sycamore April 1976
Westlake,
Texas
Private Residence Sycamore 1978
Draper,
Utah
Lone Peak Nursery Sycamore  
Hampton,
Virginia
Booker Elementary School Sycamore 30 April 1976
Loudoun County,
Virginia
Private Land Sweetgum 1978
Olympia,
Washington
State Capitol Building Douglas Fir  
       
Brasilia,
Brazil
IBAMA Institute Sweetgum 14 January 1980
Rio Grande do Sul,
Brazil
Santa Rosa Redwood (?) 18 August 1981
       
Auburn University,
Alabama
G.W. Andrews Forestry Sciences Lab Loblolly Pine *,
Sycamore *
22 October 1976
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 Loblolly Pine * 15 March 1976
Monticello,
Arkansas
University of Arkansas at Monticello Loblolly Pine * 1977?
Moscow,
Idaho
University of Idaho Sycamore *  
New Orleans,
Louisiana
New Orleans River Walk Loblolly Pine * June 1983
New Orleans,
Louisiana
NASA Michoud Assembly Facility Loblolly Pine (2?) * July 1976
North Pembroke,
Massachusetts
Historical Society Sycamore? * April 1976
Wyoming,
Michigan
Wyoming Police Station Sycamore * 23 April 1976
Albuquerque,
New Mexico
Civic Plaza Douglas Fir *  
Illinois Valley,
Oregon
Siskiyou Smoke Jumpers Base Douglas Fir *  
Tullahoma,
Tennessee
Arnold Air Force Base Loblolly Pine * April 1976
Salt Lake City,
Utah
State Capitol Building Sycamore *  
Washington,
D.C.
White House Loblolly Pine * 19 January 1977

* Trees no longer alive


[Moon Tree Emblem]

 Second Generation Moon Trees
 Apollo 14
 NASA Obituary - Stuart Roosa, December 1994
 Telegram sent to Bicentennial Moon Tree Planting Ceremonies - President Gerald Ford
 Apollo 14
 Lunar Home Page
 NSSDC Planetary Home Page

Articles about the Moon Trees

 Moon Trees: Legacy of Apollo 14 Links Earth and Space - space.com, 7 May 2001
 A Moon Tree? - Focus on Forestry, Winter 2001
 Moon mysteries - Christian Science Monitor, 18 June 2002
 In Search of Moon Trees - Science@NASA, 13 August 2002
 NASA seeks public help finding rare 'moon trees' - Lake City Reporter, 21 August 2002
 Goddard's Moon Tree - Goddard News, 23 August 2002
 Where Have the Moon Trees Gone? - Wired Magazine, 12 September 2002
 Fly Me to the Moon, Then Let Me Grow Among the Firs - Newhouse News, 13 September 2002 (Wayback Machine Archive)
 Scientists look for elusive 'moon trees' - CNN, 22 October 2002
 Moon Tree Legacy Spreads Across Country - AP, 11 November 2002 (Wayback Machine Archive)
 A Race Against Time To Find Apollo 14's Lost Voyagers - NASA News, February 2011

[NASA Logo]
Author/Curator:
Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDC, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
+1-301-286-1258


NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck, edwin.j.grayzeck@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 04 October 2014, DRW