NASA Artemis Moon Trees

One of the first trees to be grown from seeds recently carried to the moon was given by the first lady scheduled to go to the moon.
On Wednesday, April 24, NASA astronaut Christina Koch sent a seedling of a Loblolly Pine “Moon Tree” to her home state of North Carolina. The tree started off as one of the more than 1,000 seeds that NASA’s unmanned Artemis I mission in 2022 flew around the moon.
Koch, who is scheduled to launch as a member of the Artemis II crew in late 2025, stated, “With the planting of an Artemis Moon Tree today at the governor’s mansion, North Carolina is firmly planting the roots of exploration for generations to come.”
NASA has chosen a new generation of Moon Tree stewards from throughout the nation, and Koch’s presentation was one of the first delivery to this group. White Oak High School in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Koch’s alma mater, is one of the other beneficiaries.
According to The Daily News, a Jacksonville local newspaper, Koch stated, “I used to dream about going to space by looking up through the pine trees, and so, it was just a really great symbol of our commitment to North Carolina, North Carolina’s commitment back to NASA, and all the amazing universities here that produce people for the aerospace industry.” “That whole Artemis generation that’s coming up here and that we can’t wait to see exploring space.”

Christina Koch

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The Orion spacecraft that flew on Artemis I carried seeds for sycamore, sweetgum, Douglas fir, and giant sequoia along with the loblolly pines, which are endemic to North Carolina. The mission took 25 days and covered 270,000 miles (435,000 kilometers). The Artemis Moon Trees were distributed once the seeds sprouted and matured into seedlings under the supervision of the Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
NASA invited community and educational organizations to apply in August 2023 if they would want to plant a Moon Tree. Recipients were selected by the space agency based on their capacity to maintain the different types of trees and their willingness to use the trees’ development as a means of community engagement in their local communities, states, or cities.

The assistant administrator of NASA’s Office of STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) engagement, Mike Kincaid, stated, “Together, NASA and the Forest Service will deliver a piece of science history to communities across our nation.” “Through this partnership, future explorers, scientists and environmentalists will have the opportunity to nurture and be inspired by these Artemis artifacts in the community where they live, work and learn.”
NASA is informing the chosen universities in waves; the first is already in progress, and groups will be notified in the fall of this year, spring of 2025, and fall of 2025. The organization intends to maintain a list of the beneficiaries on its website, mentioning the kind of tree everyone got and the planting schedule.
Starting this summer, Moon Tree hosts will now have the opportunity to interact with the public at quarterly virtual get-togethers.
Although the whole list of the first fifty winners is yet unknown, Mary Chapa Academy in Greenfield, California, reportedly received a sapling on Thursday (April 25) based on a social media post.
The Apollo 14 command module pilot Stuart Roosa, a former Forest Service smoke jumper, embarked with hundreds of tree seeds in his personal preference pack on the 1971 moon voyage, which gave rise to the idea for the Artemis I Moon Trees. Many of the Apollo Moon Tree seedlings were included in the 1976 bicentennial commemoration of the United States, which was held around the nation.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson predicted that “a new era of Moon trees will one day stand tall in communities across America.” “Because space is shared by all, NASA is bringing the spirit of adventure back to Earth. These seedlings, which will provide years of inspiration, innovation, and discovery, will be carried forth by the Artemis Generation.”

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