NASA to Grow Cannabis on the Moon?

NASA to Grow Cannabis on the Moon?

While it may seem like science fiction, NASA scientists have long considered the possibility of lunar colonization. Although the environment is currently hostile to human life, scientists believe that the introduction of plants is the first step toward researching and developing a sustainable environment for future human settlement.

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Many of the benefits of cultivating plants on the lunar surface are straightforward. Plants provide critical support to human life, including nourishment, oxygen and water. Their decomposition process enriches harsh, inhospitable soils with much-needed organic matter, setting the way for full-scale agricultural pursuits. Just as on Earth, complex life on the moon is not feasible until a strong ecosystem of vegetation has been established.

Basic needs

Beyond meeting our basic needs of food, oxygen and water, plants may provide great insight into how humans will survive the moon’s environment. In their seedling stages, plants demonstrate an environmental sensitivity similar to humans. Studying the impact of extreme weather, radiation and Amazingly, NASA has plans to launch specially designed canisters called Lunar Plant Growth Chambers to the moon as early as 2015.

One crop that has potential for lunar cultivation is, interestingly, cannabis. Cannabis, or hemp, is a hearty, multi-use plant that could provide much for human settlers in future lunar colonies. It is a strong, recyclable building material and fiber for clothing. It is a healthful food source, including protein, magnesium and iron. It can be used to produce paper, plastics and even a clean bio-fuel. Cannabis has even been identified as having medicinal qualities. It can be grown in extreme environments, and is known to thrive where other plants struggle. From amateur speculators to high-level scientists, many believe cannabis should be an integral species in the development of lunar vegetation.

nasa-lunar-plantsWhile many homegrowers struggle with legal barricades of cultivating their cannabis seeds, NASA faces larger issues in its fight against nature; how are plants supposed to grow without oxygen? Tests will be run through sealed containers which will contain enough oxygen for more than 5 days of growth. NASA hopes to be extracting hydrogen, water, and oxygen by 2018.

As NASA research and development of the lunar vegetation program continues, it will be interesting to see which plants are chosen and how they will ultimately shape the future of possible lunar habitation. With current sights on turnips, basil and Arabidopsis (a cabbage-like plant), cannabis may be only a few expeditions away from making its way into the lunar landscape.

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