If you have not read The Martian, you are missing out. You are not just missing out on a really well written story, but also just how ready people are to land on Mars. One of the necessities to landing on Mars is the ability to grow food once there. We have already developed the technology for extraterrestrial plant cultivation, but until we get to Mars we are growing marijuana in it.
Marijuana must be well taken care of, however it is not called weed just for the fun of it. As plants go, cannabis is pretty hearty and makes for a great subject for isolated environments that can grow plants on Mars. Mike Dixon is one the scientists leading the way in the research and for right now marijuana is what is growing in his technology he calls, “The Fridge.”
Dixon, who works at the University of Guelph in Canada, has developed a cultivation chamber called ‘The Fridge,’ which can grow edible vegetation on the Red Planet. But since there’s no need to start planting Martian crops just yet, he’s been using that tech to grow marijuana on Earth.
“All the technologies required to [grow fresh food in space] are being deployed in the service of growing really good marijuana,” Dixon told MOTHERBOARD recently.
‘The Fridge’ will be able to support astronauts as they explore Mars, but to live there, Dixon thinks settlers will need inflatable greenhouses that can be compressed and packed inside a space shuttle. But he says it will be a long, long time before we get to the point where we’ll use this tech.
“It’s a long road, it’s 50 or 100 years from now before we have substantial plant production systems on Mars, for example, to support human exploration,” Dixon said. “We’re not just instantly going to blast off to Mars and grow 10 acres of tomatoes under an inflatable structure. There’s a lot of baby steps.”
“You can’t afford to spend that kind of space exploration currency on growing plants you can’t eat — yet,” Dixon noted. “[But] they’re going to grow barley and make single malt whiskey at some point. Why not marijuana?”
If you think about it, astronauts should consider having marijuana and hemp to grow on Mars. Hemp could be used for all sorts of textile needs and marijuana could be used as a pain killer or to help treat boredom or serve as a non-addictive anti-depressant. Just how forward thinking do you think NASA is relative to the federal government?
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