A team of UC San Diego students has a plan to make the next giant leap for boozekind. Researchers of course have already aged scotch in outer space, grown wine grapes in zero gravity, and blasted yeast 77 miles above Earth to brew an imperial stout. But these engineering students say they can complete the entire fermentation process on the surface of the moon — they just need somebody to get them up there. Luckily for them, one of the groups competing for Google’s $30 million Lunar X Prize has room on their spaceship, and they’re running a competition to fill it. The team is currently one of just 25 finalists out of an entry field of 3,000 applicants.
The students, who go by the name Team Original Gravity (it’s a science joke … ), explain the method they developed to brew the world’s first lunar beer started as “a few laughs amongst a group of friends,” but things got serious fast. They had to figure out how to measure density without any help from gravity, and make a pressurized container explosion-proof so it could go aboard a $60 million spaceship. The entire “brewery,” as it were, is the size of a soda can — a canister split into thirds: one section for the unfermented beer that mixes with another containing yeast, and a third that traps spent grains and yeast so the brewing process halts and they don’t end up with like the world’s first 100,000-minute IPA once the vessel returns to Earth.
This all sounds highly complicated, but the project lead, a fifth-year bioengineering senior, says they’re people who “own our own home-brewing kits” (translation: things are already complicated). Plus this way, nobody’s cleaning any messes out of their dorm room closet.