Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Race Against Time to Find Apollo 14's Lost Voyagers

A Race Against Time to Find Apollo 14's Lost Voyagers.

In communities all across the United States space travelers that went to the moon and back with the Apollo 14 mission are living out their quiet lives. The whereabouts of more than 50 are known. Many, now aging and reside in prime retirement locations like Florida, Arizona and California. A few are known to be in the Washington, D.C. area. However, hundreds more are out there -- or at least, they were. And Dave Williams of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, wants to find them before it's too late.
The voyagers in question are not astronauts. They're "moon trees" Redwoods, Loblolly pine, Sycamores, Douglas firs, and Sweetgum trees that were sprouted from seeds that astronaut Stuart Roosa took to the moon and back. The seeds that later became moon trees orbited the moon 34 times in the Apollo 14 command module.

Demand for saplings outstripped supply, but still requests kept on coming, from abroad as well as home. "They went all over Europe - France, Germany, Spain - we know Douglas fir, sweetgum and redwood do very well in Europe. The British Isles got half a dozen." Unfortunately, any record of who asked for Moon Trees and who got them appears to have vanished.

So do you know the whereabouts of any of the moon trees that were sent to the UK?


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