The world is heating up — Mother Earth went through 16 of the 17 hottest years on record since 2001. At the rate we’re going, humanity is going to need a backup plan and a drink. Enter space beer.
A group of engineering students from University of California San Diego are working on a device that can brew out of this world beer. Their competing in the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which is a competition pitting innovators around the world to create low-cost, space-exploring robots. The team of students, who go by “Team Original Gravity,” are hoping to test their product on board the XPRIZE ship TeamIndus, which launches on December 28, 2017.
It would, obviously, be the first beer ever brewed in space. The experiment will test yeast in space for things like pharmaceuticals and bread (and beer). The idea for space beer all started over a few laughs and, I can only guess, a few beers.
“We all appreciate the craft of beer, and some of us own our own home-brewing kits,” Neeki Ashari, a fifth year student at UCSD, says in a statement. “When we heard that there was an opportunity to design an experiment that would go up on India’s moonlander, we thought we could combine our hobby with the competition by focusing on the viability of yeast in outer space.”
The space brewery wouldn’t count as a microbrewery, or even a pico brewery. It’s the size of a soda can split into three sections. One section holds the sugared up liquid that will turn into beer, one holds the yeast, and another has a separator for when the yeast is done doing it’s job. The mechanism ferments using pressure, unlike human brewers, who have to use density measurements. Density measurements rely on gravity, and there’s, well, no gravity in space. The switch wasn’t too difficult for the team to figure out, though.
“Converting the pressure buildup to fermentation progress is straightforward, as long as volume and original gravity — specific gravity before fermentation, hence our name — are known prior to the experiment,” Han Ling, the team’s brewing lead, says in a statement.
If the humans who get to colonize outer space are anything like the humans down here on Earth, we’ll have to come up with a much larger brewing system. Team Original Gravity is making a solid (and very important) first step to putting a brew on the moon, though.