Moon Trees 

In 1971 Nasa sent a rocket ship to the moon. They wanted to test the effect of space on seeds and the U.S. Forest Service provided a packet full of sycamore, pine, sweet gum and pine tree seeds to make the trip. When the seeds returned to earth, the forest service planted them to see how they would grow. 

They grew just as good as the seed that stayed on earth and soon the Forest Service had a bunch of little trees on their hands. They gave them out to different states to celebrate the nation's bicentennial and two of them ended up in Utah. 

Tornado Took Out One Utah Moon Tree 

One of the sycamores given to Utah by the Forest Service was planted on the grounds of the state capital where it thrived. The freak tornado in 1999 that took part of the roof off the Jazz basketball arena also toppled the moon tree.

That had to be a stunning moment for this tree. “After traveling through outer space, then as a sapling going across the country to Utah, I get taken out by wind?” I’m sure that tree didn’t see a tornado in its future when it headed to the Utah mountains. 

Where Can You See the Moon Tree? 

The remaining sycamore was planted in a nursery in Draper. It was cared for by prisoners on work release from the penitentiary at the point of the mountain. It is still standing by a red building owned by the forest service. It is not doing too well as it has a fungal infection and may not last much longer.

There is an interesting note on this Nasa site. It says four moon trees ended up in Utah, but two of them are unaccounted for. Who knows, maybe there is a tree in your neighborhood that has been back and forth to visit our lunar neighbor. 

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