Elon Musk made headlines these days after it's been revealed that astronomers have warned that Elon Musk's SpaceX and the Starlink project could make our planet vulnerable to asteroid impacts. Is it another step towards cannabis popularization among space enthusiasts? SpaceX now delivers drugs to ISS? Astronauts are now allowed to smoke weed? Will NASA stream stoned astronauts?
There's obviously comedic value in the idea of sending weed to space for scientific research, but to be clear, that's not exactly what's happening.
The mission was contracted by Front Range Biosciences, an agri-tech company, in partnership with SpaceCells USA and BioServe Space Technologies. Its objective is to determine if plant cells undergo genetic mutations while in space.
"We've been fortunate to be a leader in the new space industry and we're excited to explore these wonderful opportunities with the team at Front Range Biosciences and BioServe", said Peter McCullagh, CEO of SpaceCells.
Cannabis will stay aboard the ISS in a special incubator with controlled environmental conditions for a month, while being monitored remotely from the University of Colorado. Instead, it'll send plant cultures of hemp, the legal cannabis strain with low levels of compound THC.
"This is the first time anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures", Jonathan Vaught, co-founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences, said in a statement.
The company announced that it will send a cargo of up to 480 plant cell cultures to the station and SpaceX will be handling the logistics.
Science There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations. Researchers would like to study these mutations and see what happens to the plants once they are returned to Earth. After 30 days in space, they'll come back to Earth and the researches at the Front Range Biosciences will examine the plant samples to see any alterations on the plant genes made by microgravity and space radiation exposure.
The company hopes that learning how plants react to space travel could influence the way in which they are grown on Earth.