Researchers at NASA are currently figuring out the best way to feed astronauts who will eventually live on Mars -- the people over at Budweiser are working on something that is arguably equally important: getting beer on Mars.
The brewer announced its intentions of bringing beer to the Red Planet, but brewing beer there poses certain challenges. Are they ones that the company can overcome?
In IT Blogwatch, we take a swig.
So what is going on? Christine Birkner has some background:
As scientists search for life on Mars and plot a way for people to live there in the future, Budweiser is...at work figuring out how to make life in space...more fun by developing a beer made just for the Red Planet.
And how do they plan on doing that? Clint Rainey has some more details:
At SXSW...the mega-brewer said it’s exploring ways to make beer that can exist on Mars...On a panel with outer space enthusiast Kate Mara and astronaut Clayton Anderson, two top Budweiser execs discussed the logistics of brewing beer in space -- chief among them how to carbonate it sans gravity.
Why does gravity pose such a problem with brewing in space? Nick Hines is in the know:
The challenges of brewing beer on Mars are enormous. The...brewing process relies on gravity -- as does consuming a carbonated beverage. Fermentation usually relies on density measurements which requires gravity. One option, though, is to ferment using pressure instead.
Is that the only challenge, though? Dan Solomon fills us in:
In addition to the whole gravity thing, the lack of water will make brewing difficult, the lack of direct sunlight will make it difficult to grow hops, the carbonation causing a...problem known as "wet burps," and the fact that you can taste less food in space because your tongue swells. These are the challenges Budweiser...[is] committed to solving.
So how does the company plan to solve these problems? Mike Pomranz can tell us that:
Anheuser-Busch hopes a partnership with...[the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space], which would allow the company to experiment aboard the International Space Station, will help it get the ball rolling on this beer of the future...Of course...the idea of having a Bud on Mars is probably a bit premature being that any sort of manned mission isn’t in humanity’s immediate future.
But why is all of this important? Astronaut and panelist Clay Anderson tells us why this could contribute to an astronaut's well-being in space:
"A successful mission will include many key components, including the need to provide crew members with commodities that remind them of home...," he wrote in an email.
But is this all for real? The company assures us that it is:
It smells like a PR stunt aimed at gaining attention for the brewer...But a spokesman said it was a serious effort and could potentially include funding research to study how beer and carbonation would behave on Mars.
Here's hoping we can have beer when we finally make it to the Red Planet. But Brice Russ has an important question:
Shouldn't the beer of Mars be an amber ale?