Moon trees are among the most notable space experiments that NASA ever conducted in history. A previous report from Science Times said that about 500 seeds were sent to space aboard the Apollo 14 mission in 1971 to know if these seeds that experienced microgravity will grow differently from those that have not experienced microgravity at all.
Apollo 14 mission circled the moon 34 times before returning to Earth. Upon returning, NASA revealed that they planted these seeds along with seeds that did not experience counterparts. Around 83 of these seeds grew into trees, which are now dubbed as Moon Trees.
Most of them are in the US, while two are located in South America and one in Europe. NASA has recently shared a map showing these locations 50 years after it was sent to space.
The collection of Moon Trees include Douglas firs, loblolly pines, redwoods, and sycamores.
Moon Trees: A Living Testament of Apollo 14
Apollo 14 mission is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. It is the third lunar mission and the first to land in lunar highlands. Along with the astronauts, NASA also sent seeds classified and sorted to see if microgravity has any effect on them. At the same time, they also kept similar types of seeds on Earth as a comparison.
Although there were almost 500 seeds sent to space, MailOnline reported that many became unusable for the experiment because the canister it was put into burst open during the decontamination procedure when the crew returned to Earth.
"The resulting seedlings were planted throughout the United States (often as part of the nation's bicentennial in 1976) and the world. They stand as a tribute to astronaut Roosa and the Apollo program," NASA said.
The commander module pilot Stuart Roosa conducted the observations, experiments, and scientific investigations while in lunar orbit on the seeds.
Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa conducted observations, experiments, and scientific investigations in lunar orbit.
Detailed Map of the Location of Moon Trees
Dr. Michele Tobias of the University of California Davis created a detailed map of the Moon Trees locations that NASA planted around the world.
In a 2016 interview, he said that he learned about the Moon Trees when watching an episode of Huell Howser on KBIE Public Television. It showed one of the locations of the Moon Trees on the California State Capitol grounds.
"I later learned from my aunt that my grandfather was a part of the telemetry crew that retrieved the Apollo 14 mission that carried the seeds that would become the Moon Trees, so there's something of a connection to this idea," Tobias said.
According to NASA, the then-President Gerald Ford said in a telegram to U.S. Bicentennial Moon Tree planting ceremonies that Moon Trees were carried by the crew of the Apollo 14 mission, which is a symbolize the spectacular human and scientific achievements, a fitting tribute to NASA that brought the best out of American patriotism and determination to succeed.
Today, experiments in space continue, and various space agencies worldwide are planning to explore further the Moon, Mars, and the cosmos beyond the Solar System.
Check out more news and information on Moon Mission on Science Times.