The Homewood Public Library teamed up with Birmingham Botanical Gardens to put on display moon rocks and other lunar samples from the Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 missions.
Judith Wright, with Homewood Public Library said, “We were actually one of 75 US libraries to be awarded the NASA at my library grant and we are the only one in the state of Alabama. And part of that grant allowed us to become certified to hold lunar and meteorite samples. So, we borrow them a couple times a year from the Johnson Space Center.”
“So, the meteorites here, they are actually several different samples that were found from all over the world, including Antarctica, Mexico, Africa, Kansas. They are just a little bit sample size. And the great thing about NASA is they loan them out in kits of 200. They cut them up and break them around and send them out to the schools. These are the actual moon rocks and the neat thing that they’ve done is they’ve included some soil samples as well. So, their soil is really dust and kind of dust-like, fine powder versus our soil which is thicker to hold and absorb nutrients,” Wright said.
And it was a fitting setting to have the event at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. It’s the home of one of Alabama’s moon trees! The tree was grown from seeds that went to outer space and back during the Apollo 14 mission.
“We were fortunate that we were on the list. And we have the first one planted in Birmingham and it’s the only moon sycamore left in the state,” said Jason Kirby, Archivist Birmingham Botanical Gardens.
It was an out of this world way to inspire space fans! “When I go to schools, I ask them, ‘How much do you think these are worth?’ And they yell out crazy numbers like one billion, one million. And I say, ‘they are actually priceless because the scientists and astronauts gave their lives for us to go to the moon to get them. And so, as a way to extend that research and education, NASA lends them out,” Wright said.