Cannabis has been with us since earliest civilization and now it is accompanying us into the great unknown. At least, that’s one way to look at a plan being hatched to take some ganja up to the International Space Station (ISS).
Front Range Biosciences is an agricultural biotechnology out of Colorado that is decidedly into cool stuff. Partnering with the University of Colorado and tech startup Space Cells, to launch plant cultures of hemp and cannabis into the void.
The point of it all is test whether zero gravity will mutate the plants. To do that, they plan to send an incubator with more than 480 plant cell cultures on board a SpaceX cargo flight. The mission is slated for March 2020, as reported by VICE.
“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. “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.”
“We are excited to learn more about both hemp and coffee gene expression in microgravity and how that will inform our breeding programs,” added Reggie Gaudino, VP of research and development at Front Range.
The endeavor raises an interesting question, to us anyway: is weed legal in space? After the most thorough research possible using Google over the course of ten minutes, we have discovered no clear answer. Though we did learn that there are a bunch of confusing space treaties between nations which date back more than a hundred years (according to Wikipedia) and that one time NASA found cocaine in one of their space hangars(party).
Photo via Flickr/ John Fleskowitz