A coast redwood grown from seeds that orbited the moon grows in Monterey, California.
MontaraManDan and The Geek stopped by Friendly Plaza to gawk at the cosmic wonder on the way home from a somewhat disappointing visit to Big Sur. After all, the Geek’s Mom worked for NASA during the Apollo lunar missions. So, this one’s for you, Mom Lady!
Hundreds of Redwood, Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Sweetgum and Douglas Fir seeds were packed aboard the Apollo 14 command module in 1971 as part of a joint NASA and U.S. Forestry project. More than 400 seedlings subsequently were planted, many during the United States bicentennial in 1976, and their growth compared with earthbound controls.
We weren’t sure what we might find as we walked up the hill to the plaza adjacent to historic Colton Hall after lunch near Cannery Row. Mutant branches? Bark that glows? An otherworldly hum? Nope, nope and nope. It was a fairly standard California Redwood, with little green needles rather than tiny aliens.
While we’re pretty sure it came in peace, the space-age redwood literally throws shade on a monument engraved with the 19th-century poem “Monterey.” Too bad. The poem was written by Daniel O’Connell, an occasional Bay Area journalist, sometimes poet and full-time “Bohemian.” That’s “slacker” in the vernacular of his day, a man after our own collective heart.
Is the Moon Tree a “must see”? Goodness no. But if it sounds like good geeky fun and you’re in the neighborhood, stop by Friendly Plaza in Monterey and have a look. Or click here and find a Moon Tree near you.
“Who Knew?” is an occasional feature of www.CoastsideSlacking.com that spotlights roadside wonders and oddities that might be worth a gawk if you’re in the neighborhood.