The brewing conditions of beer impact taste, so it goes without saying that beer brewed on the moon will, quite literally, be out of this world. And while a batch of beer has yet to be made on the moon, things could change if a group of engineering students from UC San Diego have their way.
As part of a competition, students from UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering have created a unique contraption: a vessel that will brew beer on the moon. The idea is to see how yeast acts on the moon — a valuable addition to understanding how to develop yeast-containing foods outside of Earth — but a delicious byproduct will be a batch of beer.
What It Takes to Brew Beer on the Moon
The canister created by the students, who named themselves "Team Original Gravity," is inspired by fermenters, says Srivaths Kaylan, the mechanical lead for the team. The vessel will launch from Earth containing unfermented beer (also known as wort) in a compartment, with yeast in a separate compartment. When the spacecraft lands on the moon, a valve will open allowing the contents of the two compartments — wort and yeast — to mix.
"When the yeast has done its job, a second valve opens and the yeast sinks to the bottom and separates from the now-fermented beer," Kalyan said in a press release.
Brewing Beer on the Moon vs. Earth
The brewing procedure on the moon is modified from the traditional method to customize for the environment. For example, on Earth, the fermentation and carbonation process would be separate. But the team combined them to reduce the risk of over-pressurization and to eliminate the need to release carbon dioxide, which can result in sanitation and safety issues.
As for the yeast used, it is a specific strain called HotHead from Omega Yeast Labs that can withstand the conditions on the moon. Lance Shaner, owner of Omega Yeast Labs, told Gizmodo that HotHead has "a wide temperature tolerance for the unknown conditions and fluctuations."
While the device has been created, it may or may not make it to the moon. The students are one of 25 selected teams in the Lab2Moon competition hosted by TeamIndus, a group with a contract to send a spacecraft to the moon in the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge. Should the UCSD students earn a spot on the spacecraft, then their creation will launch on December 28, 2017.
Read more: Can You Brew Beer On the Moon? from Gizmodo
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