A tribute to the iconic Sycamore Gap tree is set to land on the Moon this Christmas. 

On Christmas Eve, a new America rocket - named the Vulcan - will lift off from Cape Canaveral, on Florida's Space Coast, carrying an unmanned spacecraft.

The robotic spacecraft, called the Peregrine, will carry a number of tree seeds grown from the seeds that were previously been taken into space by astronaut Stuart Roosa during the 1971 Apollo 14 moon mission. 

The Northern Echo: The Peregrine spacecraft. The Peregrine spacecraft. (Image: PR)

In 2015, long-standing spaceflight enthusiast Phill Parker organised for a set of space-flown tree seeds from his collection to be carried to the lunar surface by the Peregrine spacecraft to honour the late astronaut, Mr Roosa.

As the vandalism of Sycamore Gap happened only months before blast off, Phill, from Newcastle under Lyme in Staffordshire, elected to dedicate the seeds - fortuitously, sycamore seeds - as a long-lasting memorial to the felled Northumberland tree. 

The Northern Echo: Late astronaut Stuart Roosa. Late astronaut Stuart Roosa. (Image: PR)

Phill is certain that the late Stuart Roosa would be in total agreement as before he became a NASA astronaut, Roosa was a US Forestry worker and smokejumper (a kind of wildland firefighter).

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The Northern Echo: The Vulcan rocket. The Vulcan rocket. (Image: PR)

Years in the planning, the seeds are now on board Peregrine at Cape Canaveral, awaiting launch. 

The seeds will be amongst some of the very first items from the UK to ever land on the moon. The craft will attempt to land on the south western edge of the Moon Mare Imbrium, at the Gruithuisen Domes on New Year's Eve, where it will operate for up to eight days. 

The Northern Echo: Phill ParkerPhill Parker (Image: PR)

No matter whether the spacecraft lands on the moon safely or not or if it fails to orbit the moon, the Sycamore seeds, in their protected metal canister, will be on the moon or in space for thousands of years providing a tribute to the Sycamore Gap tree.