The astronauts inside the International Space Station will be making a cosmic brew in the next couple of months, and the credit all goes to 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, Space.com reported.
An astronaut aboard the station will shake up the mixture to see how the yeast interacts with the other ingredients in the beer.
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.
Other experiments selected to fly with Bodzianowski’s microbrewery look into the developmental effects of microgravity on the spotted salamander, how microgravity changes calcium absorption in bones, crystal formation on the station and seven other selected experiments.