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Top Feature

Sycamore tree at Goddard
Photo taken by Chris Gunn/293

Goddard's Moon Tree

Over by the Visitors' Center stands a fenced sycamore tree, which has been to the Moon and back in its seedling years on the Apollo 14 mission.

Former U.S. Park Service smoke jumper employee, Stuart Roosa was aboard Apollo 14 and was the one responsible for taking various tree seeds to the moon and back as part of a joint project with NASA and the US Forest Service. Roosa carried hundreds of Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Sweetgum, Redwood and Douglas Fir tree seeds which were to be compared with seeds on Earth.

Once returned to Earth, during the decontamination process the canisters of seeds burst opened and were presumed to be no longer viable. Fortunately the seeds were sent to Forest Service stations in Mississippi and California and were germinated successfully. Some the trees were planted with the counter parts for observance but most of them were given away across the world during the periods of 1975 and 1976 to many state forestry organizations, the White House, Brazil, Switzerland, the Emperor of Japan, various universities and NASA centers.

For a listing of the known Moon Tree locations go to: http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/moon_tree.html

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