Beer on the moon?
That's exactly what a group of engineering students at the University of California, San Diego, said when the idea popped into their heads to brew on the moon.
The team calls itself "Team Original Gravity," and they are hoping to win a TeamIndus Lab2Moon competition so that they can take their brewing kits into space and find out exactly how yeast acts on the moon. What they learn could pave the way not only for future beer-making endeavors but also for developing pharmaceuticals and foods like bread that have yeast in them, so that we will be totally ready when it's time to colonize the moon. Obviously.
"The idea started out with a few laughs amongst a group of friends," fifth-year bioengineering student Neeki Ashari, the team's PR & Operations Lead, told a University of California publication. "We all appreciate the craft of beer, and some of us own our own home-brewing kits. 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."
This won't exactly be the first time beer has been brewed in space. A Colorado-based team once brewed a tiny amount of it on a NASA space shuttle, although they said that the yeast acted very strangely but ultimately did its job, according to Mashable.
So how do you make beer in space? Team Original Gravity plans to do it by bringing their brewery with them, which, by the way, is the size of a soda can. They will have prepped the unfermented beer, so all they will need to do is ferment and carbonate it (which they will do simultaneously) and add yeast based on pressure measurements.
"Our canister is designed based on actual fermenters," the team's mechanical lead, fourth-year nanoengineering major Srivaths Kalyan, told the UC publication. "It contains three compartments -- the top will be filled with the unfermented beer, and the second will contain the yeast. When the rover lands on the moon with our experiment, a valve will open between the two compartments, allowing the two to mix. When the yeast has done its job, a second valve opens and the yeast sink to the bottom and separate from the now fermented beer."
Pretty cool, huh?