Why SpaceX is Sending Weed to Space in 2020
Elon Musk, everybody’s favorite meme lord, is sending cannabis to space. Is there anything this guy won’t do?
First, he smokes a big fat blunt on the Joe Rogan podcast taking the stock of Tesla down by a whopping 8% in the process — good one, Elon — and now he wants to send cannabis into space.
No, this is not a joke, and no, it’s not to get astronauts blazing in space. So, if nobody’s getting high, what’s the point, you may ask?
SpaceX is actually collaborating with an agri-tech company called Front Range Biosciences. Together, they’re sending plant cultures of legal hemp with low amounts of THC to space. Once there, the hemp is going to the ISS incubator for one month and scientists from the University of Colorado, Boulder will monitor the plants remotely.
After the 30 days, the plants will be sent back to the earth. Front Range Biosciences will then try to figure out if any space radiation and microgravity had any effect on the plants. Together with cannabis, SpaceX is also sending more than 480 other plant cultures to the ISS.
“This is one of the first times anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, Co-Founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences, in a press release.
“There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations. This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to Earth and if there are new commercial applications.”
The experiment could potentially help growers and scientists better understand how the plants react to outside influences and how different environments affect plants in different ways.
“We envision this to be the first of many experiments together,” said Louis Stodieck, Chief Scientist of BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
“In the future, we plan for the crew to harvest and preserve the plants at different points in their grow-cycle so we can analyze which metabolic pathways are turned on and turned off. This is a fascinating area of study that has considerable potential.”