If you visit the United States, look closely at the local trees. It turns out that on our planet there is a whole group of “lunar trees”, the existence of which many have not even heard.
The story begins in 1971. The Apollo 14 spacecraft set off toward the moon to carry out the third astronaut landing on the surface. The astronaut and pilot of the command module Stuart Rusz grabbed about 500 seeds with him. While his colleagues were working on the lunar surface, Rousse with seeds remained in circumlunar orbit. So, the seeds themselves were not on the moon, but they were called “lunar” because of the Earth satellite’s orbit.
When the mission returned to Earth, it was possible to grow seedlings from seeds that were subject to space influence. Them in the 1970s. planted in many US states and as a gift distributed to several countries.
Virtually all moon trees have taken root and become a living reminder of the Apollo mission. However, this was not the idea of an astronaut. Before the flight, he was addressed by the director of the US Forest Service, Edward Cliff. He selected the seeds of pine, incense, sequoia and sycamore trees. Part of the seeds (500 pieces) was sent to space, and the rest (control) left on Earth. The main task is to compare the quality of seeds with those that have been in space, and also to check whether they can germinate.
After passing through the quarantine and accidental incident with an exploding airtight container, the seeds were sent to the territory of the southern nursery of the Forest Service in Mississippi, where they managed to get 420-450 seedlings. Some of them were planted next to the control seeds. Years passed, the trees grew, and there was no difference at all between them.
But it is surprising that this story was not immediately known. In 1996, one of the Indiana school teachers wrote a letter to the Goddard Space Flight Center. The letter indicated that a wonderful tree with a sign "moon tree" was growing in the school yard. She just wanted to understand what it means.
This issue was taken up by David Williams, who went to the former employees of the US Forest Service, having learned the whole story of cosmic seeds. After a long search on the territory of the US states, 75 trees were found. It is also known that several seedlings were transferred to Switzerland, Brazil and Japan.
Interestingly, the lunar trees had a different life span. Some died during the first years due to adverse weather conditions or diseases. However, others continue to grow. Scientists even believe that they are destined to live for more than a hundred years and even reach the thousand-year mark.
Reports indicate that about 25 lunar trees have died at the moment. But on the rest you can admire. In fact, this is your opportunity to touch a living plant that has been “in its childhood” in space.