The 'Moon Tree', a sycamore planted at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in 1976, sprouted from a seed that flew on Apollo 14. The tree was toppled by Hurricane Irma in September 2017, forcing crews to remove it from the complex. Photo: Florida Today

By Emre Kelly
21 September 2017

(Florida Today) – A tiny tree seed that began its voyage in an Apollo command module and later sprouted to life at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex was lost to the winds of Hurricane Irma earlier this month.

Known as a "Moon Tree," the perennial plant once located in a visitor complex courtyard spent nearly two weeks of 1971 tucked away in the personal kit of Apollo 14 Astronaut Stuart Roosa and completed 34 orbits of Earth's closest neighbor.

But despite its epic voyage, the sycamore tree planted in 1976 to celebrate the U.S. bicentennial was removed from the visitor complex after Irma toppled it, which created a hazard to guests.

"The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Moon Tree was a beautiful, living artifact, and part of our nation’s history of space exploration," the visitor complex said in a statement. "We were saddened to lose it."

A NASA analysis found that Irma's winds reached as high as 94 mph at Kennedy Space Center. [more]

Irma topples NASA's 'Moon Tree' that flew on Apollo 14

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