back to article 'Race against time' to find LOST TREES from the MOON

NASA has appealed for help from the public in tracking down a plague of 'Moon trees' grown from seeds brought back from a 1971 lunar mission in an astronaut's personal kit. Space boffins say that the seeds survived in conditions of total vacuum and are thought to have been planted out at various locations on Earth, growing into …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    A Parachuting job title evAr.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Awsome

      "A Parachuting job title evAr."

      Yes, I almost believed the story up to that point.

    2. Disco-Legend-Zeke
      Thumb Up

      In The Western US...

      ...they are called "Smoke Jumpers."

      1. thecakeis(not)alie

        Smoke Jumpers

        In Canada we call them alternately "Smoke Jumpers," "Bush Fighters" or far more often "Lunatics."

  2. Blake St. Claire

    Exposed to vacuum?

    They were in his personal kit. He didn't do a space walk. Unless he gave them to Shepard or Mitchell to carry down to the surface, I don't grok how they could have been exposed to vacuum.

    Exposed to more radiation than normal I can understand.

    And what's the big deal about exposure to vacuum anyway? Or even exposure to more radiation? We can do both of those here on the ground.

    Not as sexy as doing it on the moon I suppose -- or just a slow news day.

    1. Studley

      Re: Not as sexy as doing it on the moon

      The 250,000-mile-high club?

      1. The Indomitable Gall

        Re: The 250,000-mile-high club?

        It's not 250,000 miles high once you're captured in the field of attraction of a heavenly body....

        1. Allan George Dyer


          I enjoy being captured in the field of attraction of a heavenly body.

          What? You're talking about gravity?

    2. Scott 53

      Worse than that

      Wasn't even "on" the moon, just near it. Meh.

    3. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Easy enough

      He just opened the capsule window and stuck his hand out with the seeds in them.

  3. Bill 2


    That wasn't quite as exciting as I thought I had been led to believe.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Could have been . . .

      'NASA Boffins Unable To Get Wood'

      1. F111F

        Icon Says It All

        The post is required, and must contain letters...

    2. Alicia


      Ditto. I spent most of the article wondering if I'd somehow missed March and most of February.


  4. Anonymous John

    I for one

    Welcome our forty year old Lunar arboreal overlords.

  5. Paul 172

    April 1st

    is ages off......

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "NASA's Williams believes that the seeds were those of ordinary Earth trees all along"

    Damn sceptic.

  7. The Indomitable Gall

    Golf balls...

    Now, are the space golf balls back on Earth, or do they remain on the moon as a bizarre first prize for the next ex-terrestrial visitor...?

    1. Mike Flugennock

      lunar golf balls

      No, the golf balls were left at Fra Mauro, exactly where they landed after the first golf shots on another world by Al Shepard -- and, yeah; I'd love to see the looks on some alien explorer's face when he picks them up and wonders just what the hell they are.

      1. Tigra 07
        Thumb Up

        RE: Mike Flugennock

        Perhaps the ET will plant them and try to grow Earth trees?

    2. Martin Gregorie

      They're still there.... can see one of the balls in this picture:

      Click the picture to enlarge it and you'll see the golf ball in the shallow crater at the middle of the photo about half way up to the horizon, almost directly above the cart in the foreground.

      Its just below the near end of the white rod, which Ed Mitchell threw into the crater, so at least one of Al Shephard's shots didn't exactly go 'miles and miles'.

      1. Ian Yates


        Basically, the moon visits were just an expensive excuse to litter?

  8. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    How do you tell?

    These are tree seeds from earth, taken out and brought back. They may have been subject to vacuum and cold, but that is probably the same as tree seeds in a seedbank.

    The only way they could be identified was if they had done an FF4 and become stretchy, stone like, invisible, or could burst into flame, or had been labelled and/or otherwise recorded.

    This is such a non-story.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge


      Trees are made of wood, so they are hard, stretchy, and, in certain circumstances, will burst into flame.

      And since no one can find them, maybe "invisible" isn't too much a stretch. (Or it is.)

      But, yeah, sloooow news day.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    As far as we know ... Shephard claimed his balls went "miles and miles and miles"

    ROFL .. WIN!

  10. Roger Greenwood
    Thumb Up

    April 1st coming up

    This was just a dry run. (Very dry if they made it to the airlock).

  11. MinionZero

    1960's Scifi B movie storyline in the making...

    @"Hundreds of moon trees were distributed as seedlings" ... "but we don't have systematic records showing where they all went."

    Have they never seen "The Day of the Triffids". Plus lets hope they don't do that *no systematic records* mistake, when they do finally find alien bacteria. :)

    1. Goat Jam

      I Have

      and god do I wish I hadn't.

      The book was great but the 60's movie was truly a crime against humanity. The 80's mini series was OK considering the budget constraints but was still pretty ordinary by about the second half.

      Considering the endless number of godawful "re-imaginings" going on in the movie industry these days TDOTD is one candidate for a proper movie. I wonder if they will ever do the book justice?

      There is also a sequel* to the book, although it is not as good as the original.

      * Not written by John Wyndham

  12. Eponymous Cowherd


    ***"Shephard claimed his balls went "miles and miles and miles""***

    About 478,000

    1. Mike Flugennock

      "Miles and miles"

      ...and miles and miles and miii-iiiiiiles, oh yeah!

      Obviously, Shepard was exaggerating for humorous effect.

      The golf balls did, however, travel much farther in the vacuum and low gravity than they would have on Earth. Find the video footage and check out the trajectory of the ball as it leaves the frame; it travels in almost a straight line, and very quickly, too.

      I watched it live on TV when I was about 14; I remember being quite impressed at the time.

      Also quite funny -- as well as a bit surrealistic -- was watching astronauts on the Moon tossing away shreds of the thin, light Kapton thermal shielding as they peeled them off of the experiment packages they were deploying. Kapton's really thin, flimsy stuff that hardly weighs anything on Earth and would hardly go anywhere due to gravity and air resistance, but in lunar gravity and vacuum -- ma-aaan, you should've seen that stuff take off.

  13. jonathan keith

    Count me out

    I'm not knowingly going anywhere near one of those things. I've seen "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers". I know what happens when someone notices something new on a plant and says "Ooh, that's an interesting flower"...

  14. jai


    we're all gonna die from lunar triffids!!!

    1. MinionZero

      Hey what's that!, behind you! ;)

      We need to cut back on the coffee. :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "No space was set aside in the Apollo capsules for seeds found on the Moon,"

    No pun intended eh? Or was it? Either way, marvelous, thank you

  16. C 2
    Paris Hilton

    This sounds like a plot from the sequel to Avater

    LEAKED ..

    Ya, I know that's what she said..

  17. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Of course he had to stay in the orbiter

    Two's company, Tree's a crowd.

  18. Don Bannister

    What's WITH the random CAPITALISED words in THE headlines

    As it says. This author has done this a few times - I'm wondering what it means ....

  19. Marc 1

    Moon trees... that where moon bats come from?

    Sad face; no explanation needed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There was ...

    ... a triffid at my door this afternoon.

    Could this explain it?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    as sensible and helpful citizens of earth we should take cutting from each tree we see and send them to NASA so they can identify which are the Luna escapee's

  22. Queeg

    Yeah I know! title...sheesh

    "In space no-one can hear you germinate."

    Oh for a chestburster icon

  23. jake Silver badge

    Some were Redwood tree seeds.

    I germinated a few as part of my Science Faire project at Wilbur Jr. High in Palo Alto ("The Life Cycle of Coastal Redwoods"). A friend of my Dad's had gone to school with Roosa, and when he heard of my project, he suggested I write him a letter, requesting the seeds. So I did, never expecting to hear back from him ... To say I was one thrilled teenager when I got the package and a short "good luck!"note from him would be a gross understatement :-)

    Later, I invited him to attend the faire, but he politely declined, citing prior commitments ... however, he sent a short voice comment on cassette, stating why he chose to take the seeds on his journey, and a signed 8X10 photo of the Apollo 14 crew for me to display. I can't find the cassette, alas, but I still have the photo.

    One of my trees is planted on the school grounds at the former Greendell Elementary School in Palo Alto, and survives to this day. There are a couple more on the adjacent former Cubberly High School campus, and a couple on the grounds of Stanford and Berkeley Universities. Another is on my old family Homestead just outside Fort Bragg, CA. It is flourishing. The only other one that I'm certain of the location is behind the California State Capitol building. This last one is not one of mine, and is the only one that is marked, so far as I know. The PBS television series "California's Gold" did an episode on these trees:

    Another link:

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Moon Trees? So what....

    I have some Bum Berries taken from Uranus.

    They now grow everywhere.

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