Buying your loved ones (or yourself) a star has long been a way to show your eternal love for another. But, now, NASA has a new way for space fans to bring back a piece of the cosmos and proudly show it off in the front yard. According to Popular Science, the time has come for a batch of seeds that traveled around the moon aboard the Orion spacecraft to be planted – thus giving us our very first moon trees.
NASA is offering citizens the chance to plant moon trees – future trees whose seeds took a space trip around The Moon.
Okay, so maybe civilians will need to wait a bit longer until they can lay stakes to their own moon trees for their future yard sculpting but schools and community organizations around the United States can apply for the seeds. After the winners are chosen, these groups or schools will receive a seedling from one of the trees to try their hand at growing these cosmic wonders. Included in the possible seedlings are sweetgums, giant sequoias, sycamores, loblolly pines, and Douglas-firs.
The trip of seeds into space has happened once before when, in 1971, Apollo 14 Command Module Pilot, Stuart Roosa, brought hundreds of seeds along with him.
The moon tree expedition kicked off just last year in 2022 when NASA’s Artemis I mission blasted off 1.4 million miles into space. As the unmanned Orion spacecraft cruised by the moon, these seeds were onboard. After the craft touched United States soil following its 25.5-day mission, the Forest Service took things into their hands (or green thumbs) and germinated the seeds making them ready for distribution around the country.
The trip of seeds into space has happened once before when, in 1971, Apollo 14 Command Module Pilot, Stuart Roosa, brought hundreds of seeds along with him. Dedicated to the cause, Roosa was an ex-Forest Service smokejumper, one of the brave souls with a passion for saving trees when wildfire season strikes. Upon his arrival back on Earth, Roosa passed the seeds to the Forest Service where they germinated and planted the seedlings for the first batch of Earth’s moon trees.
Also circling the moon and going on the trip of a lifetime was a Snoopy zero-gravity indicator, three moonikins, and a handful of LEGO minifigures.
Not only were the moon tree seeds themselves aboard the Orion spacecraft a marker of history but the Artemis I Mission was also a major step forward for our continued understanding of space. The craft, which is one of the most powerful Space Launch System rockets that we currently have in our arsenal, took a trip of 270,000 miles away from Earth. Along with its moon orbit, it also conducted studies along the way.
Those seeds that will eventually grow into moon trees weren’t the only precious material on board. Also circling the moon and going on the trip of a lifetime was a Snoopy zero-gravity indicator, three moonikins, and a handful of LEGO minifigures. Essentially pop culture of 2022 was making its way into the farthest reaches of space.
Hoping to bring space to those who may never get the chance to soar through the cosmos, the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service will use the seeds of future moon trees to help those firmly planted on Earth to connect with the stars beyond. Those looking to apply for the seedlings can fill out an application through NASA. To qualify, the applications must come from a museum, an elementary, junior, or high school, university, science center, or government organization.