YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – On January 31, 1971, Apollo 14 lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its way to the moon with astronauts Edgar Mitchell, Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa.
On board, they carried an experiment — the seeds from five types of trees: sycamores, sweetgums, Douglas firs, redwoods and pines.
Scientists wanted to find out what would happen to these seeds if the seeds went to the moon and back. Would they grow on Earth, and would they look normal?
Once back on Earth, the seeds were accidentally exposed to a vacuum during decontamination but all started growing.
NASA gave away most of the Moon Trees for America’s Bicentennial Celebration in 1976.
One was planted in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. Others went to Valley Forge, the Kennedy Space Center and the White House.
New Orleans Mayor “Moon” Landrieu asked for one and got it.
A NASA website shows where they are.
Moon Trees look and grow like normal trees. Weightlessness, solar radiation and a vacuum didn’t affect them.
We have one close by, in Friendship Park. That’s southwest of Steubenville, in Jefferson county, the county just south of Columbiana.
If you’re ever there, look for the Moon Tree, a sycamore, planted July 29, 1976.
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