NASA Moon Trees inspire new generation of explorers

NASA and USDA collaborate to promote STEM through Artemis Moon Tree seedlings

Education and community organizations have been given a unique opportunity to connect with space exploration history. NASA, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service, will distribute seedlings grown from seeds that journeyed around the Moon. These Artemis Moon Tree seedlings aim to create new avenues for Earth’s communities to engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), fostering inspiration for the next generation of explorers.

“With the help of the USDA, this new generation of Moon trees will plant the spirit of exploration across our communities and inspire the next generation of explorers.”

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson

The legacy of Moon Trees

A continuation of an inspiring project that started with Apollo 14 in 1971, the new generation of Moon Trees builds on a history of connecting space exploration with earthly endeavors.

Apollo 14’s command module pilot Stuart Roosa carried seeds in his personal kit during the mission. These seeds were later planted as part of the U.S. bicentennial celebration in 1976, resulting in the first generation of Moon Trees. Some of the resulting seedlings were planted across 40 states and even internationally.

Five species for a new era

The Artemis I mission carried nearly 2,000 seeds of sycamores, sweetgums, Douglas-firs, loblolly pines, and giant sequoias. These have been nurtured into seedlings, ready to inspire anew.

Moon Tree sapling from seeds that flew on Artemis I. NASA

Application process for organizations

Schools, libraries, museums, and other educational institutions can apply to host a Moon Tree seedling. The application deadline is October 6, and information can be found on NASA’s website.

Symbol of human potential

As Forest Service Chief Randy Moore stated, the Moon Trees serve as a powerful symbol of what humanity can achieve. They are set to inspire future scientists and the community at large.

This project is a partnership between NASA’s Next Gen STEM project and the Forest Service. It epitomizes how collaboration between different sectors can lead to innovative educational initiatives.

Seedlings for space exploration and education

  • Seeds species: Sycamores, sweetgums, Douglas-firs, loblolly pines, giant sequoias
  • Number of seeds: Nearly 2,000
  • Journey: 270,000 miles from Earth aboard the Orion spacecraft
  • Distribution years: 2023 and 2024
  • Eligible recipients: Formal and informal K-12-serving organizations, universities, community organizations, museums and science centers.
  • Apply online

Planting the future of exploration and education

The Artemis Moon Tree project offers a beautiful convergence of science, history, and inspiration. By intertwining space exploration with education, these seedlings symbolize the ever-growing connection between humanity’s outer and inner worlds. Through the long-term cultivation of curiosity and understanding, this collaboration aims to nurture a flourishing future.

Learn more about the Artemis missions and NASA’s return to the Moon. Read about other exciting lunar initiatives like Luna 10. Explore more about NASA and space exploration.


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