Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beer in Space

Because this is the biggest news I read today:

Graduate student Kirsten Sterrett at the University of Colorado in the US wrote a thesis on fermentation in space, with support from US beer behemoth Coors. She sent a miniature brewing kit into orbit aboard a space shuttle several years ago and produced a few sips of beer. She later sampled the space brew, but because of chemicals in and near it from her analysis, it didn't taste great by the time she tried it.

Beyond the challenge of producing beer in space is the problem of serving it, says Jonathan Clark, a former flight surgeon and now the space medicine liaison for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute in Houston, Texas, US.

Without gravity, bubbles don't rise, so "obviously the foam isn't going to come to a head", Clark told New Scientist.

The answer, Dutch researchers suggested in 2000, is to store beer in a flexible membrane inside a barrel. Air can be pumped between the barrel and the membrane, forcing the beer out of a tap. Astronauts could then use straws to
suck up blobs of beer (see Beer balls).

Wet burps

Unfortunately for thirsty astronauts, beer is poorly suited to space consumption because of the gas it includes. Without gravity to draw liquids to the bottoms of their stomachs, leaving gases at the top, astronauts tend to produce wet burps.


Wet burps! I get those every time Sweaterman does his Dylan impersonation.

Here's a pic of a space shuttle beer fermenter:

Kirsten Sterrett used a

1 comment:

SweaterMan said...

Beer balls? Isn't that what happens when you hit on someone at the bar and they turn you down?


Thanks folks. I'll be here all week. Try the veal!