SpaceX To Deliver Cannabis and Coffee to the Space Station
The private tech company, SpaceX is critical in ensuring that the Space Station is adequately supplied. The company operates its Dragon capsule, packing it with necessary supplies and experiments before launching towards the orbiting space station. This time, the payload in the capsule will be a bit more unique than usual.
SpaceX will be sending up samples of cannabis and coffee up to the space station. While we know what you’re thinking, this won’t be consumed by the astronauts. Instead, both samples will be used for strictly scientific purposes. The research is being conducted by biotech company, Front Range Biosciences, in partnership with SpaceCells USA Inc. and BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado.
Front Range will be providing plant cultures of hemp and coffee for study, with over 48 plant cell cultures slated to be delivered to the space station in March 2020. The research aims to study the effect of microgravity and radiation from space light on the cultures.
Jonathan Vaught, co-founder and CEO of Front Range Biosciences said, “This is one of the first times anyone is researching the effects of microgravity and spaceflight on hemp and coffee cell cultures.” Despite there being little to no research for this, Vaught believes that “There is science to support the theory that plants in space experience mutations.”
Astronauts will be closely eyeing how these plants grow in such harsh conditions and how the species respond to extraneous threats like radiation and the lack of gravity. As we continue to explore and venture out into the cosmos, growing and cultivating crops will become a necessity.
Upon completion of the research, scientists will determine if the cannabis and coffee cultures have mutated advantageously. If that’s the case, further research will be conducted to determine commercial viability for future space missions. Until then, it is amusing to know one of the biggest private space companies is sending weed and coffee to a bunch of astronauts. 2019 has been wild.