The moon: Great and all, but don't you think it's missing something? I mean, yes, it could use human-rated habitats, some moon buggies, maybe a little infrastructure. Beyond that, though, what does the moon really need?
It needs beer.
Or so says a team of obviously brilliant (though potentially drunk) engineering students from the University of California, San Diego, who want to brew suds. On the moon. All in the name of science. Their reasoning holds up, too.
“The idea started out with a few laughs amongst a group of friends,” team member Neeki Ashari said in a statement. “We all appreciate the craft of beer, and some of us own our own home-brewing kits."
The team has entered a competition to fly to the surface of the moon with TeamIndus —one of the teams competing in the Google Lunar X Prize competition—before the end of this year.
Image: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications
"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," Ashari added.
By learning more about how to ferment beer in space, the students could help figure out how bread and other yeast-rich foods might be made in space, as humans push further out into the solar system.
However, if their experiment is flown, it won't be the first time alcohol's made it to space or even the moon.
A Colorado-based team actually brewed a very small amount of beer on one of NASA's space shuttles as part of an experiment. According to NASA, the yeast behaved strangely when brewing the beer in space, but by many measures the beer was effectively the same as it was when brewed on Earth.
According to another report, cosmonauts also drank doctor-recommended cognac on the space station Mir in the 1990s.
Ardbeg whiskey was actually aged on the International Space Station as part of an experiment for more than two years before it was flown back home to Earth.
And of course, when it came back home, the experimenters needed to do a taste test.
"When myself and my team went to nose and taste the samples ... I was quite astonished at how different the samples were," Bill Lumsden, Ardbeg's director of distilling, said in a video.
"That was the key result for me. The Earth control samples certainly resembled Ardbeg as we know and love it, but up on the Space Station, it was a whole new range of samples, some flavors I hadn't encountered before."