Apollo 14 Mission Moon Pine

5 Old Washington Moon Pine

 

These seeds were propagated by the Forest Service and distributed during a nationwide bicentennial planting. This tree is one of four moon pines given to our state (only two remain living)

Apollo 14 (1971) was the third manned lunar landing mission. Its objective was to perform detailed scientific lunar exploration. Astronauts:  Alan B. Shepard, Jr., commander; Stuart A. Roosa, command module pilot; Edgar D. Mitchell, lunar module pilot (see attached photo)

Launched:  January 31, 1971, 4:03:22 EST, Kennedy Space Center

Landed:  February 5, 1971, 8:37:10 GMT, 160 ft. of target point: Fra Mauro Region (after 33 total hours on the lunar surface)

Seeds of five different trees (Douglas Fir, Redwood, Sweetgum, Sycamore and Loblolly Pine) were taken aboard Apollo 14 by Astronaut Roosa. Prior to his involvement with NASA, he was a U.S. Forest Service smokejumper and had a strong interest in forestry. Stan Krugman, Forest Service, was the experiment designer for the project. A similar amount of seeds of the five species remained and to be planted as a comparison of the effects of gravity on seeds. These seeds were an official NASA-Forest Service experiment and an approximate total of 250 seeds were packed in a seed container in Mr. Roosa‟s personal belongings. The seed container exploded during decontamination and the contents were believed dead and unusable.

NASA turned the seeds over to the Forest Service for historical purposes. The Forest Service made an attempt to germinate the seeds and was successful. The seeds were germinated at the southern and western region stations of the Institute of Forestry Genetics and the largest distribution was as seedlings to various states to be planted during the country‟s bicentennial (1976).

Four loblolly pines were given to Arkansas from the Apollo 14 mission. A total of four tree seedlings were given to Arkansas as a representation of the four congressional districts for the state. Only two trees remain living, one at the 1836 Hempstead County Courthouse at Historic Washington State Park and at Sebastian County Courthouse, Ft. Smith (AFHTP #26). The two that died include the one located at the Arkansas Forestry Commission headquarters in Little Rock (died due to nematode disease) and the other was located on the University of Arkansas at Monticello campus where the Department of Forestry is located. The shortleaf/loblolly pine is Arkansas‟s state tree and all moon pines were planted on March 15, 1976 (Arkansas‟s State Arbor Day, third Monday in March).

Location: Back yard of the1836 Hempstead County Courthouse, Historic Washington State Park, Washington
Registered: August 6, 1997
Species: Loblolly Moon Pine

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