Kuiper poses with a Moon Tree. The plaque reads, "To The Stars Through Difficulties."

Atchison, Kansas Moon Tree

“Whatever the reason we first mustered the Apollo program, however mired it was in Cold War nationalism and the instruments of death, the inescapable recognition of the unity and fragility of the Earth is its clear and luminous dividend, the unexpected final gift of Apollo. What began in deadly competition has helped us to see that global cooperation is the essential precondition for our survival. Travel is broadening. It’s time to hit the road again.” Carl Sagan (American astronomer and science educator), Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, 1994

Kuiper is giving us a big ole grin because we found our second MOON TREE! This one’s a sycamore, and it is dedicated to 17 #astronauts who lost their lives in the line of duty. The large plaque reads “to the stars, with difficulty” (ad astra per aspera is the state motto of Kansas.) Each honored astronaut has their own smaller plaque in the circle. The tree lives in a gorgeous public park called the International Forest of Friendship in Atchison, KS. The park has trees from all 50 states as well as a number of other countries. I highly recommend stopping by if you’re ever in the area.

Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa brought 500 seeds aboard #Apollo14 as a tribute to the US #ForestService. While Alan Shepard was busy playing golf on the moon, Roosa stayed aboard to do some heckin’ science. The seed container was accidentally exposed to vacuum on the way home ? and none of the seeds were expected to survive. However, the Forest Service decided to give them a chance. They carefully separated all five species of tree seeds and to their astonishment most of them germinated. Most of the trees were planted around the country as part of the US bicentennial celebration in 1976.

✔️ Douglas Fir
✔️ Sycamore
❌ Loblolly Pine
❌ Sweetgum
❌ Redwood

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BXGsymhAV5N/

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