We may be on the brink of an international trade war, but at least it might soon be possible to drink space beer. An Australian start-up called Vostok, which is a joint venture between 4 Pines Beer and Saber Astronautics, has spent the last eight years developing what, in theory, will be the first brew you can crack open en route to your new home on Mars. Named for the Soviet space program that put the first human into orbit, Vostok was launched for one extremely niche purpose: ensuring future space travelers don’t have to drink beer Capri Sun–style, i.e., from a straw jabbed into a squeeze pack. (Gross.)
Vostok’s team claims they’re putting final touches on a bottle that solves the myriad conundrums of enjoying a beer while floating through space (carbonation, no gravity, etc.). They just need your support. A million dollars of support, to be exact, according to their Indiegogo. Since “the dawn of civilization,” the page explains, “wherever we venture, beer follows.” Vostok figures space will be no exception, and that if you’re paying SpaceX $10 billion or whatever to get to Mars, you’ll expect a beer that’s halfway decent. (It’d be similar to discovering the rooftop bar’s best option is an $18 Heineken, only magnify that by being 300,000 miles up instead of 500 feet.) Their answer was a dry chocolaty stout that’s won several competitions in Australia.
But that was the easy part. Since 2011, they’ve been attempting to bottle it.
Vostok says the whole quest has been one of “re-imagin[ing] beer from scratch.” The body absorbs alcohol differently in space than on Earth. Zero gravity also dulls the senses, and does unpleasant things to burps (they can become, we’re sorry to report, “wet”). Then there is the issue that beer is liquid, a form that doesn’t really work in space.
While 4 Pines now possesses a beer people can reportedly appreciate in space, Saber’s team has been on the bottle problem: Its scientists say they used the science of fluid dynamics and surface tension to create two prototypes with inserts that wick beer into the neck of the bottle, like “a fuel tank for your beer.”
The next steps are choosing which bottle, procuring supplies, filling the vessels with booze, and sending a few “lucky punters into space” to test out the bottles. Vostok estimates the first round will be ready by mid-2019.