It looks like Elon Musk has to put down the joint if he ever wants to send a human into space… At least while the cameras are rolling.
While appearing as a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast back in September, Musk decided it was a good time to try smoking weed for the first time live. While sections of the internet applauded him, investors were not happy. Tesla stock dropped nearly 10 percent and two executives announced they were leaving, but it turns out the viral moment had other ripple effects.
“I will tell you that was not helpful,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said yesterday to reporters at NASA HQ in Washington, D.C. “That did not inspire confidence, and the leaders of these organizations need to take that as an example of what to do when you lead an organization that’s going to launch American astronauts.”
NASA is working with Musk’s space aeronautics company, SpaceX, on a project that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station, but the collaboration could be in jeopardy if Musk pulls another stunt like that. “[Musk] is as committed to safety as anybody, and he understands that that was not appropriate behavior, and you won’t be seeing that again,” Bridenstine said. There was a “cultural assessment study” conducted by NASA following the incident to ensure that the agency’s partners were “meeting NASA’s requirements for workplace safety, including the adherence to a drug-free environment,” and Bridenstein confirmed that he was the person who called for those reviews. Citing previous incidents that resulted in deaths (Challenger explosion, Apollo 1 fire, Space Shuttle Columbia fire), Bridenstein said that “every single one of those accidents had a number of complications. Of course, the technological piece was a big piece of it. [But] the other question that always comes up was, What was the culture of NASA?”
“We want to get ahead of it,” he added about the decision to conduct reviews. “We want to see, right now, today, are they experiencing pressure from schedule, are they experiencing pressure from cost, and are those concerns challenging their thought process in a way that could be dangerous?” A SpaceX rep declined to comment to The Atlantic about what Bridenstein had to say. One man taking a hit off a joint hardly seems like it is that big of a deal, but it’s understandable that NASA had to do something. The safety issues sound like a clever excuse that the agency came up with because they couldn’t appear to the public eye to condone recreational drug use.
Either way, it looks like Musk won’t be appearing in the next Seth Rogen comedy and he will have to push all of his meetings with Wiz Khalifa back until after the launch happens.
Image credit: OnInnovation – CC BY-ND 2.0