A Colorado Research Laboratory is working with the space company SpaceX, and the University of Colorado Boulder Research Institute to send cannabis into space. More than 400 cannabis plants will be sent to the International Space Station on the SpaceX CRS-20 cargo flight. The plants will be monitored remotely and scientists will take notes related to plant growth in zero gravity.
Elon Musk has planned for the SpaceX cannabis mission to include over 400 plants.
Front Range Biosciences, an agricultural technology company that studies cannabis and various aspects of cultivation, has just announced a plan to transport cannabis and coffee plants to the International Space Station.
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SpaceX cannabis and coffee samples to help with ISS research
The SpaceX cannabis plants will be grown and tested for potential genetic mutations in plant cells at different stages of gravity.
Lafayette’s Front Range Laboratory and Research Team works with BioServe Space Technologies and the CU Boulder Institute for Microgravity Science, to send cannabis and coffee to the SpaceX CRS-20 space station.
The flight is scheduled for March 2020. 480 cannabis plants will be incubated onboard the ISS for about a month and the environmental conditions will be monitored remotely at CU Boulder by BioServe.
Once the SpaceX cannabis and coffee samples are returned to Earth, Front Range will look for any changes that have occurred during the various stages of microgravity and exposure to cosmic radiation.
The benefits of the SpaceX cannabis project
Stress levels of coffee and cannabis will also be monitored and ISS scientists will take notes that may affect future experiments related to plant growth with zero gravity.
“This is the first time someone has studied the effects of microgravity and space flight on cannabis plants and coffee cells, there is a science to support the theory that plants in space are experiencing mutations. This is an opportunity to see if these mutations persist after returning to Earth and if there are mutations that could have new commercial applications,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, General Director of Front Range.
The SpaceX cannabis study will be funded by SpaceCells, a company that studies the impact of microgravity on Earth’s biology.
The stimulating benefits of coffee are already well known, but the coffee itself has also proved promising as a fat-burning additive and a means of reducing the risk of certain forms of cancer and diabetes.
This will be the first of many cannabis plants in space
Industrial cannabis is a multi-purpose plant that can be very useful for astronauts. Cannabis seeds are in rich proteins and fats, cannabis fiber can be used as a durable material
In addition, cannabis flowers provide cannabidiol (CBD) and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids that are popular in the cannabis industry.
“We anticipate that this will be the first of many collaborative experiments,” predicted BioServe’s chief scientist, Louis Stodieck. “In the future, we plan for the crew to grow plants in different growth cycles so that we can analyze which metabolic pathways are switched on and off at different stages of gravity. This is a fascinating area of research that has considerable potential.”
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