SpaceX's last resupply, CRS-19, launched into blazing sunshine atop a cloud of smoke.
NASA are sending some interesting payloads high into space in March 2020...
A focus of research conducted on the ISS (International Space Station) has always been how plants grow and develop without gravity helping them, and how space affects how they mutate.
The need for this research will benefit long duration missions, such as those to Mars, where it won't be possible to take along all the food needed for the trip. Instead, food will have to be produced on the way, which is something that needs practice first.
To gain experience in this and understand any problems before any long duration missions, NASA is concentrating on the ISS. In special space pots astronauts have been growing different types of crops, and some have been harvested and eaten. While astronauts food still comes from Earth, edible crops is a step in the right direction.
Flowers have been grown on the ISS.
But when SpaceX launch a cargo mission to the ISS on Mars, it will be carrying a new type of seed into space to practice on:
Aboard CRS-20 will be cannabis seeds which it is hoped will be successfully grown to see how weightlessness affects them.
However, any dreams of astronauts getting high must be shattered. These seeds will be of the hemp variant of the cannabis family, which doesn't contain the psychoactive ingredient, THC, so astronauts won't be getting even higher and spaced out than they already are.
During the Apollo missions to the moon NASA took along some tree seeds to see how they would be affected.
They planted 420 of theses "Moon Trees" around the world, and many continue to thrive today!
It's a payload that will presumably appeal to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who caused controversy when he partook in some legal smoking of cannabis on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast in 2018.
The joint experiment between Front Range Biosciences and the University of Colorado will test theories about how plants experience mutations in space, some of which it is hoped could be beneficial on Earth, as well as informative for future space missions.
To complete the hippy feel of the resupply, a payload of coffee will also be along for the trip. The coffee will also be investigated to see how weightlessness affects mutations, and both will spend about a month stashed away on the ISS before coming back to Earth.
Assuming there isn't a scrub, blast off of CRS-20 is planned for March 2020.