In the future, when space agencies start sending human crews into deep space to explore or change the environment of faraway planets, we may need to send them extra goodies to keep their spirits up.
Mycologist Paul Stamets told Scientific American that psychedelic mushrooms could help astronauts feel better when they are lonely, sad, traumatised, or just in a bad mood in general. It’s a strange idea, but as more and more research shows that psilocybin, the active ingredient in mushrooms, may help with many mental health problems, it may be a strange idea worth thinking about.
Stamets told the magazine, “Under carefully controlled conditions, our astronauts [being] able to take psilocybin in space and look at the universe and not feel distant and alone but feel like they’re part of this giant consciousness will give them a better frame of mind — psychologically, emotionally — to work with other astronauts and stay on mission,” “I feel that isolation, loneliness, and depression are going to be major issues that astronauts face.”
To be clear, Stamets didn’t schedule an interview with SciAm just to say that astronauts should get high on mushrooms while they travel the stars. He is also getting money from NASA to find out how else mushrooms could make life easier in space.
These range from making buildings and shelters out of fungus to terraforming whole new worlds with the help of mushrooms’ ability to break down regolith into farmable soil.
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