‘Moon Tree’ Planted On Texas A&M Campus
A descendant of a tree seed that flew to the moon and back on Apollo 14 was planted at The Gardens at Texas A&M University this month, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the mission.
The “Moon Tree” was planted during an event sponsored by Texas A&M Forest Service, in partnership with NASA, USDA Forest Service, Texas A&M AgriLife, and featuring retired NASA Astronaut Col. Michael Fossum, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Deputy Forest Supervisor Jan Davis, and a video message by Rosemary Roosa, daughter of Apollo 14 Astronaut Stuart Roosa.
During the Apollo 14 mission, Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell walked on the Moon while Roosa, a former U.S. Forest Service smoke jumper, orbited above in the command module.
Packed 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 USFS. Known as the “Moon Trees” the resulting seedlings were planted throughout the United States, many as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1975-1976.
Today, they stand as a tribute to the Apollo program and to the astronaut Roosa, said Texas A&M Forest Service officials.
Texas A&M Forest Service has a genetic copy of an original Loblolly Pine Moon Tree whose seed journeyed to the moon and back aboard Apollo 14 in 1971. The tree was obtained from research conducted at the USDA Southern Research Station.