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Budweiser On Mars: The Challenges Of Making Beer In Space

24 November 2017, 11:18 pm EST By Athena Chan Tech Times
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ISS astronauts display how to construct a pizza in zero gravity

Budweiser's commitment to being the first beer in Mars has them sending their barley to the International Space Station (ISS) for upcoming experiments. What are the hurdles Budweiser must jump over to become Mars's first brewery?

Bud On Mars

Humans haven't even gone yet, but it seems as though Budweiser is intent on making the future human colony on Mars very much at home. After its announcement earlier this year of its plans to become the first beer on Mars, Budweiser has now taken a step further by commissioning SpaceX to bring barley to the space station for experiments.

According to the ISS Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), SpaceX's 13th commercial resupply mission to the ISS in December is expected to bring payloads for conducting multiple scientific research, which includes "Barley Germination and Malting in Microgravity" for Budweiser.

The project is expected to explore the effects of spaceflight on the germination and cultivation of barley This includes observing changes upon exposure to microgravity and identifying the genes that would enable some cultivars of barley to survive stressful environments such as extreme temperatures and water scarcity.

"Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars," said Ricardo Marques, vice president of Budweiser.

Challenges Of Bud On Mars

There are several hurdles that Budweiser must address before it can become Mars's principal brewery. For one thing, the people who will drink the beer will also experience some changes that could hinder the enjoyment of the product. For instance, astronauts in microgravity tend to lose their sense of taste due to mild tongue swelling and experience "wet burps" wherein the bubbles rise up after ingestion due to the lack of gravitational pull.

There's also the problem of Mars having an atmospheric pressure that is a hundred times less than that of Earth's, which means the beer won't be as bubbly because the bubbles wouldn't rise, and opening a can or bottle of beer just won't be as satisfying because the sound of a newly opened beer will not be heard.

Even more challenging is the process of brewing the beer itself on Mars. Hops, another important component of beer, requires direct sunlight and easy water access to thrive, and Mars just doesn't have that. What's more, making beer requires a lot of water, and Mars's water isn't just limited but also has a higher salt percentage, which could make beer much bitter.

That's lot of things to cover, but for now, Budweiser is starting with the barley research, which will begin once the seedlings finally reach the ISS.

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