Saturday, March 5, 2011

Space beer!

In honor of the recent successful Discovery launch, this weekend’s post is about space beer.

Apparently an enterprising brewery in Australia is developing a beer that can be enjoyed in space. (The Aussies love their beer, but I do wish American ingenuity had thought of this first.)

The idea is to be ready for the “space tourism industry.” So that future space tourists will have a nice brew to sip while they orbit the earth.

The considerations for a carbonated beverage to be sipped (or chugged) in a zero-gravity atmosphere are several:

• In space, your tongue will swell.

• Your ability to taste is severely minimized. According to the Beer Universe article referenced below, astronauts routinely douse food in hot sauce to get any flavor.

• Burping is a problem. Now this is really gross, but apparently where there is no gravity, gas is not separated from liquids, so you burp wet. Has to be a low-carbonation beer.

Richard “I’m Rich & I’m Crazy” Branson’s company Virgin Galactic claims that tens of thousands of people have already signed up for space tourism next year. Another company says it will open a space hotel within the next five years.

I won’t comment on the feasibility of these plans, or the costs, and I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I were offered a seat on a civilian space vessel. No, that’s not true, I’d say yes, assuming the fare was gratis … but I don’t think I’d want to be on the maiden voyage. Like how you don’t buy the first model year of a new car. Let them work the bugs out first.
But this makes me think of all the products that will have to be developed to support the space tourism industry. Surely there will be space weddings, therefore a need for space champagne. And strong-tasting cake … that won’t elicit wet cake burps.

What else would you pack in your overnight bag to the moon – toothbrush and toothpaste (will my electric toothbrush work differently in space), camera, jammies. I guess you wouldn’t be able to call anyone or send a postcard.

And what kind of outfit options will you have when preparing for a trip to space? I’m hoping it will be something along the lines of the rad spacesuits that James Bond and Dr Holly Goodhead wear in Moonraker, in which the evil villain plots to create a master race in an orbiting space station.

PS sweet Roger Moore action figure!

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