Dave Williams from United States of America. I am calling from Greenbelt,
This is the story of Stuart Roosa and the Moon Trees
Twelve humans have walked on the Moon. Stuart Roosa was not one of them,
but as the Command Module pilot of Apollo 14 he came close, closer than
almost anyone. He orbited the Moon alone for 40 hours while his crewmates
Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell walked on its surface. Not quite alone.
With him in his personal kit was a small box containing seeds. Tree seeds.
Seeds of Sycamores, Loblolly Pines, Redwoods, Sweetgums, and Douglas Firs.
Seeds to be brought back to Earth, to be planted, to grow into trees,
reaching up towards the Moon once more.
This is why - before he was an astronaut, Stuart Roosa worked for the
forest service. He was a smoke jumper, fighting forest fires, protecting
the trees he'd loved ever since he was a boy growing up in Colorado. There
are no trees on the Moon. Stuart Roosa wanted to go anyway. When he got
his chance on Apollo 14 in January of 1971, he worked with his old colleagues
from the Forest Service and with NASA to have the seeds brought along
on the mission. The seeds were brought to the Moon and into orbit with
Roosa, returned to Earth, and were planted and grown into seedlings. The
seedlings were sent all over the United States and the world. They didn't
look any different from other seedlings grown on Earth. But they were.
They were a small piece of the great human odyssey to the Moon, now growing
in such places as Cannelton, Indiana; Atchinson, Kansas; Greenbelt, Maryland;
Tucson, Arizona; Holliston, Massachusetts; Cape Canaveral, Florida; in
Washington, D.C., in Philadelphia, in Switzerland, and in Japan. Stuart
Roosa passed away a few years ago, but his trees are flourishing everywhere,
a living tribute to him, to the Apollo program, and to the Moon to which
he had once come almost close enough to touch.
Twelve humans have walked on the Moon. A few others have been close. On
Earth, we can only look up at the Moon and think: "People have been
there" and wonder what it must have been like. The Moon Trees, all
over the United States, all over the world, continue to grow up, up towards
the Moon, a little closer every day. They know what it is like. They have
been there. They are just trying to get back.
This was Dave Williams calling from Greenbelt, Maryland.