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Why smoking weed in space is a bad idea

Credits: Flickr / Chuck Grimmett

Famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, has advised against smoking weed in space in a recent interview. This might seem logical but why is it so dangerous? 

deGrasse Tyson was asked the question by the TMZ magazine following the controversial interview with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.  During a recent filmed podcast, Musk smoked some weed.  But what would happen if an astronaut, for example, smoked cannabis inside the International Space Station (ISS), about 400 kilometers above Earth? Put simply,  it could compromise the entire mission and threaten the life of all passengers on board. Lighting fire in an environment rich in oxygen can cause spontaneous combustion, which could explode the whole station.

Apart from the explosive risks, you need to have control of all cognitive capacities in an microgravity environment. “The problem in space is that so many things can kill you,” explained the astrophysicist. “So if you do anything to modify your understanding of reality, it is not in your best health interests.  If you want to get high in space, lock yourself in a cabin and don’t leave.”

Former president Ronald Regan also signed a decree which forbids NASA employees to use drugs since 1986.  Screenings are  regularly carried out on employees – including astronauts – to check for possible traces of drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana or other recreational drugs.

Concerning the Elon Musk affair, the famous astrophysicist came to the defense of the SpaceX CEO considering the entrepreneur as “the best thing that we have seen since Thomas Edison.”  SpaceX president, Gwynne Shotwell explained that in her opinion Elon Musk “has never been as lucid and competent as today.”


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