Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s next International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission, schedule for March 2020, will include a very special delivery of cannabis from agri-tech company Front Range Biosciences in collaboration with SpaceCells USA Inc. and BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Unfortunately, for the astronauts on the ISS, the purpose of this delivery is not for the recreational or medical use. Front Range Biosciences is sending coffee and hemp cultures, which contain very little THC, to be maintained in an incubator in order to determine the effects of microgravity and space radiation on the genes of both plants.
Front Range will monitor will the plants remotely from earth for 30 days before they return back to our planet for further research.
Front Range wants to research what types of DNA mutations occur in space and whether or not those mutations continue once the plants return back to earth.
Their goal is to determine what kinds of changes plants are able to make in unique and stressful environments, with the hope that this knowledge can be used to better understand growing plants back here on earth.
The knowledge gained from their research could potentially be used for adapting plants to climate change.
Peter McCullagh, CEO of SpaceCells, told Rolling Stone. “We expect to prove through these and other missions that we can adapt the food supply to climate change.”
Front Range, one of the partners in the SpaceX mission, are hoping to see how crops like coffee can be engineered to grow in environment that they normally do not thrive in.
Researchers would also like to gather evidence on hemp as it is fast-growing and more cost efficient than other crops like cotton.
Musk famously smoked marijuana on a podcast with Joe Rogan in September 2018 which went viral, but also earned Musk backlash from NASA which included a review of SpaceX’s workplace safety an drug-free culture.