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Apollo 14 Moon Tree Legacy Continues: NASA Seeks to Grow New Generation Moon Seedlings

Apollo 14 moon tree
PHOTO: NASA

NASA Partners with Education and Community Organizations to Cultivate Apollo 14 Moon Tree

NASA and USDA Forest Service team up for Apollo 14 moon tree legacy: planting seedlings from lunar-traveled seeds on Artemis 1 to inspire and continue exploration.

Apollo 14 moon tree

This Apollo 14 moon tree aligns with the overarching objectives of the Artemis program, which strives to establish sustainable methodologies for sending astronauts back to the moon in preparation for forthcoming human expeditions to Mars. (PHOTO: SpaceRef)

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NASA and USDA Forest Service Launch Apollo 14 Moon Tree Reforestation Initiative Inspired by Apollo Legacy

NASA, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, has launched an innovative initiative aimed at nurturing a thriving lunar forest. According to Space, this visionary project takes inspiration from an astronaut’s endeavor during the Apollo program and seeks to plant seedlings grown from seeds that circled the moon aboard NASA’s Artemis 1 mission in 2022.

Encompassing over 1,000 seeds from five diverse tree species, the Artemis 1 mission included these precious seeds as part of its official flight kit during a 26-day uncrewed test flight. This Apollo 14 moon tree aligns with the overarching objectives of the Artemis program, which strives to establish sustainable methodologies for sending astronauts back to the moon in preparation for forthcoming human expeditions to Mars.

Bill Nelson, NASA’s Administrator, conveyed the significance of this venture, stating, “NASA’s Artemis moon trees are bringing the science and ingenuity of space exploration back down to Earth.” He emphasized that this new generation of Apollo 14 moon tree represents an avenue to propagate the spirit of exploration throughout communities, igniting inspiration among the next wave of explorers.

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NASA’s Ambitious Apollo 14 Moon Tree Legacy Revives with Artemis Moon Trees Initiative

This concept traces its roots to 1971 when Stuart Roosa, an Apollo 14 command module pilot with a Forest Service background, carried hundreds of tree seeds as part of his personal belongings on the moon mission. Subsequently, these seeds were germinated by the Forest Service upon their return to Earth and gave rise to Apollo 14 moon tree seedlings, many of which were planted nationwide to commemorate the U.S. bicentennial celebration in 1976.

With aspirations of continuing this legacy of inspiration, NASA aims to cultivate a new era of Apollo 14 moon tree. The seeds, covering a remarkable journey of 270,000 miles from Earth on the Artemis I Orion spacecraft, consist of various tree species such as sycamores, sweetgums, Douglas-firs, loblolly pines, and giant sequoias. Managed by the Forest Service, these seeds have been nurtured into seedlings, poised to take on their roles as Artemis moon trees.

Randy Moore, Chief of the Forest Service, underlined the profound impact of this initiative, asserting, “These future moon trees, like those that came before them, serve as a potent symbol that when we put our mind to a task, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.” Educational institutions, including K-12-serving organizations, universities, science centers, libraries, and government agencies, are invited to participate in this endeavor by applying for a moon tree seedling through NASA’s Artifact Module. The application window is set to close on October 6, marking a significant opportunity for entities engaged in public outreach and education to contribute to the legacy of lunar exploration.

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