'Moon' Trees Planted At Rocket Center

Seedlings Part of Moon Trip

Five sycamores and two pines - grown from seeds carried to the moon aboard Apollo 14 - were planted this morning in the shadow of the Saturn 5 moon rocket at the Alabama Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

The 18-inch sycamores and 12-inch pines were cut from the seedlings grown from the seeds carried to the moon in the personal kit of astronaut Stuart Roosa on the lunar flight which was launched from Cape Kennedy Jan. 31, 1971.

Roosa is a former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper who still retains an avid interest in forestry.

Seeds from the trees were germinated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an experiment following the flight.

But the seeds carried aboard Apollo 14 by Roosa were not part of any scientific experiment - only part of Roosa's personal belongings allowed each astronaut, according to a spokesman at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

Marshall donated the trees to the Space and Rocket Center.

To further agricultural experiments, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans longer space flights with trees or greenhouses on board to study the conversion of oxygen.

Other trees from seeds on board the flight of Roosa, Alan Shepard, and Edgar Mitchell have been planted in cities across the nation. A cutting was planted as part of the Bicentennial celebration at Philadelphia's Washington Square.

The grove of seven trees at the Space and Rocket Center here can be viewed during regular operating hours of the Space Center, which is open each day except Christmas.

Participating in the tree-planting today were Edward O. Buckbee, director of the Space and Rocket Center, Harry Pennington, Jack Giles, David Newby and Huntsvile Mayor Joe Davis, all members of the Alabama Space Science Exhibit Commission.

From The Huntsville Times, Friday, October 29, 1976
Article Reproduced Courtesy of the Huntsville Times


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Last Updated: 09 March 2005, DRW