An adventure launched out of Durango has orbited the moon and returned to earth, landing at its "point of origin." The "Moon Trees" are back.

This outer space odyssey begins and ends in Colorado. There are a lot of miles to cover, so you have to stay with the story.

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What's a "Moon Tree"?

Let's get right to the point. Moon Trees, according to Wikipedia, "... are trees grown from 500 seeds taken into orbit around the Moon by Stuart Roosa, the Command Module Pilot on the Apollo 14 mission in 1971."

What does this have to do with Durango, Colorado?

The astronaut Stuart "Stu" Roosa was born in Durango. In 1971, Roosa took the seeds into space as a part of an experiment. The seeds orbited the moon more than 30 times.

Alan Shepard after Apollo 14 landing
Getty Images

What's happened during the 50 years since the Apollo 14 mission?

According to the Durango Herald, the "Moon Tree" seedlings and their descendants have been planted all over the world.

What varieties of seeds made the journey to the moon?

According to Wikipedia, five varieties made the trip:

  • loblolly pine
  • sycamore
  • sweetgum
  • redwood
  • Douglas fir

Why take seeds into space?

NASA wanted to see if the micro-gravity of space would affect their growth. So far, there's no evidence to suggest there has been any effect.

"Moon Trees" were planted yesterday to mark several significant anniversaries.

Yesterday, Thursday, April 22, 2021, community members gathered at Roosa Park in Durango to celebrate Arbor Day, Earth Day, and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission.

It’s very special. I know my father would be very pleased that we’ve come back to his roots to plant many roots.” - Rosemary Roosa (Stuart Roosa's daughter) via the Durango Herald

As it stands, Durango now has more Moon Trees than any other community in the world. Durango is home to ten Moon Trees, all American sycamores. According to the Durango Herald, you'll find the trees at:

  • Powerhouse Science Center
  • Needham Elementary School
  • Durango Montessori School
  • Mountain Middle School
  • Hillcrest Golf Course
  • St. Columba School

Time for a road trip.

This is the perfect excuse to embark on a road trip. Imagine visiting a piece of history born out of Colorado, only to make a return trip 50 years later.

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