HIgh Science: How You Can Grow Weed & Get High On Mars

One man sees the issue of growing food for trips to Mars as a problem that might be solved by cannabis.

Jun 28, 2016

The inherent problem with trips to Mars comes in the form of a commodity that cannot be marginalized: food. While other problems like fuel and oxygen can be mitigated with technological advancements, food can’t simply be fabricated, yet. One man sees the issue of growing food in space as a problem that might be solved by cannabis.

Space age technology

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Mike Dixon directs the University of Guelph’s Controlled Environment Systems Research Facility. That impressive title boils down to what every indoor cannabis grower strives for. He runs a place that tries to perfect automated growing techniques for tailored results.

We’re going to have to take plants [to space]. We don’t have the mass and energy budget to carry enough food to keep a crew going indefinitely. You have to have some bioregenerative food production system. So we’re not leaving the planet without them.

Long trips in space have to take everything into account. Every pound onboard a rocket has to have the fuel to carry it, so in outer space, space is critical. Growing food makes sense, and growing them in a way that wastes nothing even more so.

The perfect grow system

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Unfortunately for Dixon, Mankind doesn’t plan on leaving for the Red Planet anytime soon. That leaves him with little in the way of funding to design, build, and perfect his systems. But there are other industries willing to invest in systems to grow plants without wasting precious resources, and one of them is cannabis.

We’ll develop the technologies needed for space and spin them off into terrestrial industries.

Dixon’s original plan may work just as well in reverse as cannabis investment dollars could help him fund the technology. He and other scientists are studying cannabis as not only an investment partner but potential crop.

No technology is too expensive to grow cannabis.

Why our industry wants this so badly

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One of the major hurdles in the acceptance of cannabis as medicine is the standardization of dosage. With every plant being unique, that can be a challenge. Dixon’s systems could change all that. His closed systems manipulate the 6 major environmental factors of plant growth with surgical precision.

  1. Light
  2. Water
  3. Carbon Dioxide
  4. Temperature
  5. Humidity
  6. Nutrients

With this level of precision, cannabis companies could tailor their crops to produce dependable ratios of cannabinoids every time.

Standardizing the product will help it achieve the status of a conventional pharmaceutical commodity that a doctor can rely on and prescribe.

A leader in embracing new technology

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While some traditional growers might balk at leaving hard-learned growing skills at the wayside, newer generations are quickly seeing the benefits of a structured method. Already, Tweed Inc. of Ontario sees the advances in botany related to cannabis as game changing. Katya Boudko, head of research and development said:

I always knew I wanted to do research with plants, and who wouldn’t want to work in such a novel industry?

The irony that a plant that might just be the solution to the problems of long-term space travel might also help pay to create ways for us to survive it is a comforting one.

Do you think that the superfood value of cannabis will be harnessed for the space program? Will advances in grow technology help bring consistency to medical cannabis production? Tell us what you think on social media or in the comments below.

Jun 28, 2016