Though humans need water survive, I think we can all agree that we need beer to make life worth living. Ok, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but at least Budweiser and Vinepair’s Andrew Thomas seem to agree with me. Budweiser made a pretty lofty promise last year, announcing that their goal is to be the first beer on Mars. The idea (I guess) is by the time mankind has polluted our current planet so much that we have to relocate to Mars, Budweiser will have cornered the beer market.
The iconic American brewer has joined galactic forces with the Center for Advancement of Science in Space and Space Tango, which are both involved with the research facilities on the International Space Station. In early December, Budweiser sent 20 barley seeds to the space station, 220 miles above Earth, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for an experiment, which will be done in two parts.
The first part of this groundbreaking research will determine how a low gravity environment affects the seeds. The second part will examine how the barley will germinate in this environment. The seeds will be in orbit for about a month before returning to earth for more thorough analysis. Germinated barley is an essential ingredient in beer-making, so this experiment is kind of critical.
Slate.com took a closer look at what brewing beer would look like in space. Martian gravity, one-third as strong as Earth’s gravity, will affect the processes and necessary ingredients other than just barley – water, rice, yeast and hops. They point out that NASA has made some progress in investigating the effects of weightlessness on yeast growth. Growing hops would be complicated since they require sunlight, and since the majority of water flowing on Mars’ surface is super salty, this would give any beer brewed a bitter flavor.
Newsweek points out one of Budweiser’s tweets following the announcement of their inter-galactic mission: “Mars’ atmospheric pressure is about 100 times less than Earth’s, meaning bubbles in carbonated drinks don’t rise, and gases and liquids don’t like to separate, turning the beer into a foamy slop when removed from its packaging.” Anheuser-Busch certainly has their work cut out.
Budweiser vice president Ricardo Marques said of the experiment that [the brand is] “always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars. We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”
At least we’ll have an all-American peace offering should we encounter life on Mars, right?