Elon Musk smoking weed live on air is still fresh in mind and now, an agri-tech company named Front Range Biosciences is planning to send marijuana to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard a SpaceX cargo flight in March next year to understand the impact of gravity on weed. The plant cell cultures of hemp (a form of cannabis) and coffee will be shipped off in the SpaceX "CRS-20" cargo flight set for launch in March, reports Digital Trends. Although it sounds surprising, the plants are impacted by the low-gravity atmosphere and scientists still don't know the reason for the same.
To send the tissue cultures to space, Front Range Biosciences has partnered with tech startup Space Cells and BioServe, a research institute in the University of Colorado, Boulder.
"This is one of the first times anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures. This is an opportunity to see whether those mutations hold up once brought back to earth and if there are new commercial applications," Dr Jonathan Vaught, Co-Founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences, was quoted as saying.
The cultures will remain in an ISS incubator for 30 days while BioServe Space Technologies monitors those remotely from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
After 30 days, the cells will be sent back to Earth so that the researchers can see how the DNA has been affected by fluctuating gravity levels and cosmic radiation.
The aim is to check how microgravity affects plants and if the exposure of space radiation can affect their genes.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine last year said that SpaceX founder Musk will not be smoking weed in public again.
Speaking on Musk's infamous marijuana consumption during "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast, the NASA chief said "that was not appropriate behaviour" and people will not be seeing that again.
Bridenstine said he spoke with Musk that he does not want NASA contractors engaging in questionable behaviour.