Beer In Space: Brewery Will Fly to Space Station
2013-10-10 0:00

By Miriam Kramer | SPACE

In a couple of months, the astronauts on the International Space Station will help make a cosmic brew, courtesy of a sixth grader from Colorado.

Eleven-year-old Michal Bodzianowski’s microbrewery experiment, designed to test the effects of making beer in space, has won a trip to the space station, thanks to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). Bodzianowski’s experiment, which he developed at STEM School and Academy in Highland Ranch, Colo., is slated to fly to space aboard Orbital Science’s robotic Cygnus spacecraft, expected to launch in December.

The tiny brewery is set up inside a 6-inch-long (15 centimeters) tube, filled with separated hops, water, yeast and malted barley — all of the key ingredients used to make beer — and will be delivered to the station by the commercial firm NanoRacks. An astronaut aboard the station will shake up the mixture to see how the yeast interacts with the other ingredients in the beer. [Space Food Photos: What Astronauts Eat in Orbit]

"I really didn’t expect this from the start," Bodzianowski told KDVR, a Fox affiliate in Denver. "I really just designed my experiment to get a good grade in my class."

It might sound like a somewhat frivolous experiment, but Bodzianowski has some good reasons for wanting to investigate the way beer can be made in space. In case of an emergency in space, alcohol is a cheap way to purify water, so figuring out a good way to make beer in space could be practical.


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