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NASA Will Plant “Moon Trees” Across America

NASA Will Plant “Moon Trees” Across America

After hundreds of requests, NASA has selected companies across the country to receive lunar tree seedlings that flew around the moon during the Artemis I mission in 2022. NASA selected the companies based on criteria that assessed various tree species and their suitability for maintenance. Ability to maximize educational opportunities about the life of trees and growth in their communities

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“One day a new era of lunar trees will stand in communities across America,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. NASA is bringing the spirit of exploration back to Earth because space belongs to everyone. The Artemis generation will carry these seeds forward, providing fertile ground for creativity, inspiration and innovation for years to come.

To commemorate the Artemis I moon trees, NASA Artemis II astronaut Christina Koch traveled to her home state of North Carolina to attend a tree ceremony at the Governor's Mansion on April 24. Since returning to Earth, the tree seeds have germinated under the care of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Forest Service, while the Next Generation STEM Program of NASA's STEM Engagement Office and the Logistics Management Division from the agency's Office of Infrastructure work to identify their new homes.

“NASA and the Forest Service will bring a piece of science history to communities across our country,” said Mike Kincaid, associate administrator of NASA's Office of STEM Engagement. “Through this partnership, future explorers, scientists and conservationists will have the opportunity to cultivate and be inspired by these Artemis artifacts in the communities where they live, work and learn.”

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The original moon trees carried by NASA astronaut Stuart Russa during Apollo 14 traveled 270,000 miles from Earth in the Orion spacecraft. A variety of tree species flew around the lunar surface, including sycamores, eucalyptus, Douglas firs, loblolly pines, and giant sequoias. The first batch of seedlings will be sent to nearly 50 companies in 48 US states.

“What an incredible journey these Future Moon Trees have already been on, and we're excited to see them begin their final journey to permanent homes on campuses and institutions across the country,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “We hope these trees will continue to be enjoyed by the public for centuries to come, inspiring future generations of scientists and land managers.”

Moon Tree recipients will be invited to share their efforts to engage the public and K-12 students at quarterly virtual meetings beginning in the summer of 2024. Educators can learn about educational resources and activities to share the story and science of moon trees with their students. Available online.

Next Gen STEM is a program of NASA's Office of STEM Engagement that creates unique resources and experiences to spark student interest in science, technology, engineering and math and create the next generation of talented, diverse workforces.