SpaceX is carrying around three tonnes of cargo, docked up with the ISS (International Space Station). A Colorado research laboratory has teamed up with the space carrying firm to send hemp and coffee plants to the space station in March 2020.
This experiment is undertaken to examine if the plants will genetically grow in a zero-gravity environment, and consider if there is a way to design more flexible vegetation for climate change stricken regions.
Front Range Biosciences is an agricultural biotech firm that breeds genetically consistent coffee and hemp plants, has grouped with Space Cells, and the University of Colorado to introduce over 480 plant cell cultures in an incubator made for space.
These cell cultures will be carried out to the ISS aboard the SpaceX CRS-20 cargo flight, which is set for March 2020.
In 2018, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been excluded from NASA for smoking marijuana. It has raised concerns about safety issues and regarded them as poor behavior.
However, NASA is set to receive its own batch of hemp plants, but for scientific research.
Once carried to the ISS, the plant cells will be placed in a space-made incubator with regulated temperature for a month. Meanwhile, astronauts and crew members will monitor the environmental conditions. After a month, these cells will be returned to the Earth, where researchers will evaluate the samples at the lab, to conclude how space radiation and microgravity exposure has resulted in the plants' gene expression.
The researchers will not only examine how the cultures will react in zero gravity but expect that the study will help scientists to identify new areas or chemical expressions in plants. Hence, it will allow scientists to understand how plants manage the stress of space travel and offering a whole new zone to explore. They further hope that the result will guide them to design more resilient crops, which can survive in climate change striking areas.