Purdue Extension: Sycamore and Tulip Poplar tree seeds orbited the Earth on the US space shuttle Atlantis STS more than 30 years ago, from December 2-6, 1988, as part of a Purdue Extension 4-H project with Astronaut Jerry Ross.
The seeds were grown into saplings on Purdue University’s campus and one was donated to each county Extension Office in Indiana in 1989 to celebrate the diamond anniversary of Purdue Extension Service. These trees continue to grow in many Indiana communities, today.
Kristi Whitacre, Purdue Extension Educator, and Daniel Walker, Purdue Community Planning Extension Specialist, have documented the story and gathered information on the remaining trees in an interactive story map.
Visit Space Tree Story Map (STS-M) to view the map, to learn about the history of the project, receive tips on harvesting the seeds and to learn more about astronaut Jerry Ross.
Sycamore, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Planting Part 1: Choosing a Tree, The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting Your Tree, The Education Store
State tree a popular landscape choice, Morning AgClips, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Did You Know?: Space trees, The Purdue Arboretum
The Tree from Space at Fox Island, Purdue Extension
Jesica Hollinger, Extension Communication Specialist