NASA and Forest Service offer seedlings to grow Artemis ‘moon trees’

August 24, 2023

— NASA is looking for training and group organizations to assist develop a sensible forest of timber with a singular pedigree — the moon.

Impressed by an Apollo astronaut’s initiative, the house company and U.S. Division of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service want to plant seedlings that had been grown from seeds flown across the moon on NASA’s Artemis I mission in 2022.

Greater than 1,000 seeds of 5 totally different species of tree had been flown as a part of the official flight equipment on the 26-day uncrewed check flight. The Artemis program has the purpose of creating a sustainable technique of returning astronauts to the moon’s floor in preparation for sending people to Mars.

“Final yr, these seeds flew on the Artemis I mission 40,000 miles [64,375 km] past the moon. With the assistance of the USDA, this new era of ‘moon timber’ will plant the spirit of exploration throughout our communities and encourage the following era of explorers.” mentioned Invoice Nelson, NASA’s Administrator, in a press release. “NASA’s Artemis moon timber are bringing the science and ingenuity of house exploration again right down to Earth.”

In 1971, Apollo 14 command module pilot Stuart Roosa, a former Forest Service smoke jumper, carried lots of of tree seeds as part of his private desire equipment. Following the moon mission’s return to Earth, the Forest Service germinated the seeds. The Apollo moon tree seedlings had been planted across the nation, many as a part of the U.S. bicentennial celebration in 1976.

Now, it’s NASA’s hope {that a} new era of moon timber will take root and keep on the legacy of inspiration launched greater than 50 years in the past. The seeds that journeyed 270,000 miles [435,000 km] from Earth on the Artemis I Orion spacecraft included sycamores, sweetgums, Douglas-firs, loblolly pines and big sequoias. By way of the care of the Forest Service, the seeds had been germinated and grown into seedlings in preparation for his or her new roles as Artemis moon timber.

“The seeds that flew on the Artemis mission will quickly be moon timber standing proudly on campuses and establishments throughout the nation,” mentioned Randy Moore, Forest Service chief. “These future moon timber, like those who got here earlier than them, function a potent image that after we put our thoughts to a job, there may be nothing we won’t accomplish. They’ll encourage future generations of scientists, whose analysis underpins all that we do right here on the Forest Service.”

Faculties, libraries, museums and others partaking with college students or the general public are inspired to use for a moon tree seedling by means of NASA’s Artifact Module. Eligible establishments embody formal and casual Ok-12-serving organizations, universities, group organizations, science facilities and authorities businesses.

The appliance interval closes on Oct. 6.

NASA and the Forest Service will overview submitted functions to find out the viability to efficiently host a seedling; the Forest Service will establish the seedling species for chosen recipients based mostly on geographical area within the contiguous United States. NASA is working with the Forest Service to establish timelines for seedling distribution in 2023 and 2024.

By planting the Artemis moon timber, NASA is creating new methods for communities round the nation to attach with humanity’s exploration of house.

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