Alabama Space and Rocket Center Trees

Huntsville, Alabama

Five sycamores and two loblolly pines were planted at the Alabama Space and Rocket Center (now the U.S. Space and Rocket Center) in Huntsville, Alabama, on 29 October 1976. The sycamore seedlings were 18 inches tall and the pines 12 inches tall at the time of the planting. The trees were passed on to the Alabama Space and Rocket Center by Marshall Space Flight Center. They were planted near the Saturn V. The trees have since died.

The article below is from the Friday, October 29, 1976 Huntsville Times.

'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.

Article reproduced courtesy of the Huntsville Times

 History of the Sycamore and Loblolly Pine Moon Trees

 Moon Tree Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams,
Last Updated: 3 August 2023, DRW