NASA spent $5 million dollars on an employee training and culture review over the past year, but it didn’t cover any information about life in zero-gravity or what it feels like to hit 4G’s on the way out of our atmosphere. Instead, NASA wanted to find out if anyone at Elon Musk’s SpaceX was smoking weed.
According to a new report from Politico, NASA paid SpaceX the $5 million sum to conduct a full-scale, all-staff employee culture review after the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast and smoked a blunt live on air. And because NASA is a government agency, those millions in anti-weed training came directly from the pockets of US taxpayers.
At the beginning of the investigation late last year, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the Washington Post “If I see something that’s inappropriate, the key concern to me is what is the culture that led to that inappropriateness and is NASA involved in that. As an agency we’re not just leading ourselves, but our contractors, as well. We need to show the American public that when we put an astronaut on a rocket, they’ll be safe.”
Gallery — Photos of Cops Smoking Weed:
SpaceX did denounce Musk’s podcast appearance and subsequent weed humor as atypical behavior for employees, saying that "our comprehensive drug-free workforce and workplace programs exceed all applicable contractual requirements."
And to be fair, NASA has not reported finding any bags of feminized seeds ready to plant on Mars or fuel canisters used as hash oil extraction tubes. But did Musk’s one-time smoke sesh really necessitate NASA shelling out $5 million in federal funding to snoop around SpaceX for weed in the first place? Well, that’s a question for some smarter rocket scientists than us.
“What we have here is an important cultural divide between what is considered appropriate behavior in the old guard in the space community and what is considered OK among Silicon Valley tech people and a growing sector of Americans,” Pete Garrettson, a recently retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and space strategist, told Politico.
Follow Zach Harris on Twitter