NASA initiates distribution of 1st Artemis Moon Trees for planting nationwide

NASA astronaut Christina Koch, a North Carolina native, recently presented her home state with a special gift – a loblolly pine “Moon Tree” sapling that had flown around the moon on NASA’s Artemis 1 mission. The sapling was one of over 1,000 seeds that were part of this unique mission.

Koch, who is set to launch in late 2025 as a member of the Artemis 2 crew, also shared Moon Trees with her alma mater, White Oak High School in North Carolina. The seeds flown on Artemis 1 included a variety of tree species such as loblolly pines, sycamores, sweetgums, Douglas-firs, and giant sequoias.

In August 2023, NASA invited educational and community organizations to apply to grow their own Moon Trees. Recipients were selected based on their ability to care for the trees and use them for outreach in their communities. The first wave of institutions receiving Moon Trees is currently underway, with NASA planning to keep a record of the recipients on its website.

To further engage the public, hosts of Moon Trees will participate in quarterly virtual gatherings starting this summer. The Moon Tree project was inspired by Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa, who carried tree seeds to the moon in 1971. The Apollo Moon Tree seedlings were planted across the U.S. in 1976 as part of the country’s bicentennial celebration.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated that the Artemis Generation will continue the spirit of exploration and the legacy of the Moon Trees for years to come. The Moon Trees serve as a reminder of humanity’s connection to the cosmos and our ongoing efforts to explore beyond Earth.

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