New Mexico Officials Believe They've Located a Missing 'Moon Tree'

Aug 12, 2019

Officials believe they may have found one of the missing trees planted in New Mexico from seeds taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 1971, file photo, Apollo 14 Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., who hit three golf balls while on the moon, conducts an experiment near a lunar crater, using an instrument from the two-wheeled rickshaw cart carrying the various test tools. Five trees planted in New Mexico from seeds taken to the moon during the Apollo 14 and given to the state by NASA have all died or been forgotten, according to officials at the locations where the trees were planted decades ago.
Credit (NASA via AP File)

Albuquerque TV station KOAT reports former New Mexico first lady Clara Apodaca and a naturalist have identified a tree they believe to be one of those planted in the state four decades ago. Apodaca and the naturalist say a Douglas Fir located in a grassy area north of the state capitol in Santa Fe is a moon tree. Apodaca helped plant it.

The discovery comes after the Albuquerque station reported officials feared they had lost track of the trees.

Moon trees were grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit around the moon by former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Stuart Roosa during the 1971 mission.

Albuquerque officials said the moon tree planted at the city's Civic Plaza later died after the plaza was remodeled in 1996.

Other states, like Arkansas, Florida and Georgia, have kept up with moon trees and periodically organize events around them.