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3-min read

The Tippling Point | 'Job of Galactic Proportions': As NASA Plans Manned Missions, Humans Work Towards First Space Beer

The team boldly decided that mankind will not shift to any other planet without its long-time partner, beer, following close on heels.

Manu Remakant |

Updated:September 22, 2019, 1:20 PM IST
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The team boldly decided that mankind will not shift to any other planet without its long-time partner, beer, following close on heels.

News18 Tippling Point

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, recently said, at a congressional hearing in the US, "We can move up the Mars landing by moving up the moon landing (to 2024)." The deadlilne for Mars landing falls in the year 2033, even though some quarters who are not optimistic enough push the phenomenal milestone towards the fag end of that decade.

But what does The Tippling Point has to do with Mars landing? Has it got its eyes set on sipping a can of beer in space? Or on the red planet? Why not!!!

My ears are perked ever since I learned about 4 Pines, an Australian beer company joining hands with Saber Astronautics, a space engineering firm for brewing the pioneering "Vostok Space beer" named after the craft that took Yuri Gagarin, the first space traveller to the orbit.

The team boldly decided that mankind will not shift to any other planet without its long-time partner, beer, following him close on his heels. "We’ve joined forces and we’re on a mission of galactic proportions. We are destined to go where humanity never has before and create the world’s first beer for space," their website reads.

Why this elaborate research and joint venture for taking a bottle of booze to space straight away, you may wonder. Why can't they load a case of Kingfisher beer next time somebody goes to space?

Vostok space beer

Vostok Space Beer drinking vessel

Sorry, it is not that easy. And for your information, NASA bans all kinds of carbonated drinks in space. Blame zero gravity, you cannot guzzle down your beer from an ordinary can as you do here on our mundane earth.

Challenge number one. When you pry open the cap of a beer on our planet, the fizz comes out leaving behind the precious drink. A million thanks to gravity. But in space, without the gravitational pull, the liquid doesn't sink to the bottom leaving the upper tier of the can for carbon dioxide. Instead, liquid and gas, lie mixed, assuming the appearance of frogspawn. What if you lick the beer out (as it won't tumble down in zero gravity) from the bottle? You'll burp, won't you? The same that happens after sipping beer back on earth.

Challenge number two. In space, they call your burp a wet burp. In a state of weightlessness, the liquid you consume is as light as the gas you take in. Without gravity to press the liquid down in your belly, your burps throw out gas plus beer, making a mess of your space craft.

Challenge number three. Zero gravity acts on our body in weird ways. The blood normally circulates in our body without pooling around in our legs with the help of valves and other physiological mechanisms. In zero gravity, the fluid that moves to the head swells the tongue, soft cranial tissues, and other facial organs. The impact. Our senses of smell and taste are compromised. Food and drinks get bland. That is the reason why astronauts usually take heavily spiced food. So just imagine, how slim the chance, that the nuances of a finely crafted beer get registered on the mouth of an astronaut.

Now you know why creating a beer for microgravity is a Herculean task. And no wonder it took many years before they could come out with a beer that fit the bill: Vostok Space Beer.

The dry-Irish style stout is made with a seven-strong malt line-up that guarantees strong flavour, and a full body with a texture strong enough to fire up even numb tastebuds. While the heady aroma of coffee, chocolate and caramel assaults the mouth, the low carbonation of the beer will make sure that the beer stays in the belly rather than come out as messy burps.

Vostok beer has been successfully tested in controlled zero gravity atmospheres created on earth as well as in aircraft flying parabolic arcs where taste in weightlessness was closely studied.

The mission is still on to craft the perfect bottle for the beer to be drunk in space. Long way to go, beer!

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