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article imageGroup of engineering students hope to brew beer on the moon

By Arthur Weinreb     Jan 25, 2017 in Science
A team of university students from UC San Diego have been shortlisted in a competition to conduct an experiment on the moon. If the team is selected, they will determine how yeast will react when beer is brewed on the lunar surface.
If people will eventually inhabit the moon or Mars and beyond, it would be nice if they could enjoy a nice cold beer after work. A group of engineering students are vying for a position to become the first to brew beer on the moon.
Team Indus is one of four teams trying for the Google Lunar X Prize valued at $30 million. The first place team will win $20 million while the second place team will be awarded $5 million. In order to win the money, a privately funded team must put a robot on the moon that can explore an area of at least 500 meters. The winning teams must also have the ability to send high quality images and videos back to Earth. The remaining $5 million is reserved for other accomplishments.
The undergraduate students studying at the Jacobs School of Engineering call themselves “Team Original Gravity.” Student Neeki Ashari, a bioengineering student, said the idea began with a few laughs. The students like craft beer and when they heard about the competition for an experiment on the moon, they wanted to combine their hobby with a scientific experiment to test how viable yeast will be on the moon.
Of the 3,000 original applications made to Team Indus, only 25 teams, including Team Original Gravity, remain.”
To conduct the experiment, the students designed a container about the size of a soda can and that contains three compartments. Unfermented beer will be placed in one compartment and yeast in a second. After the spacecraft lands on the moon, a valve in the container will open, allowing the unfermented beer and the yeast to mix. Once that is accomplished, the finished beer will make its way to the third compartment.
Container the size of a soda can designed to brew beer on the moon
Container the size of a soda can designed to brew beer on the moon
UC San Diego
While the students are excited about making beer, the experiment will have other implications. It will determine how pharmaceuticals and foods such as bread that contain yeast can be produced in outer space.
This will not be the first time beer is brewed outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. A small amount was brewed on a space shuttle flight and, according to NASA, the yeast behaved differently than it does on Earth. The result however was still beer.
As has been said, this experiment will be “one small sip for man, one giant leap for mankind.” And brewing beer on the moon will give a whole new meaning to the term “moonshine.”
The students and other teams that made the cut will travel to Bangalore, India in March when a final decision will be made. Team Indus’s spacecraft is set to launch on Dec. 28, 2017.
More about Beer, brewing beer on the moon, UC San Diego, team indus, google lunar x prize
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