Zero gravity cocktail glass ready for takeoff

It’s a difficulty few will face, being firmly grounded on earth. But for an astronaut enjoying a cocktail in a dignified manner, not out of a squeezy bag, is just not possible – until now.

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An ingenious invention has emerged on crowdfunding site Kickstarter with the aim of allowing astronauts to enjoy a martini while surveying the vastness of space, without blobs of the beverage floating into the air.

The Zero Gravity Cocktail Project has been spearheaded by the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation (CLC), an organisation formed in 2014 with the aim of designing domestic products for space. Made up of experts in fields as diverse as mixology, engineering, space and design, the zero gravity martini glass is the first of several projects planned by the group aimed at improving the comfort of astronauts and future space travellers and to “inspire people to dream big about living in off-world.”

Introducing the product on its Kickstarter page, the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation said: “This product combines the beauty of the classic Martini glass with the physics of space science. If you take away gravity a liquid becomes something different. It’s sticky. Surface tension keeps it clumped together into blobs. If you shatter that blob, dozens of little blobs scatter everywhere. Then it sticks to your clothes, your skin, everywhere. It is hard to clean up.  The current space technology solution for managing liquids is simple: keep it in a bag. Squeeze bags are ubiquitous. You use them for camping and travel. They are practical. They are also ugly, and you cannot smell the liquid, which is important for things like coffee, tea, and cocktails.”

The design of the glass is such that it allows a space traveller to “enjoy the aroma of the drink, yet keep the fluids under control”, with your mouth completing the connection “like a straw”, it said.

The ambitious designers even suggested that the product could help inspire a future in which space hotels are in orbit are a reality, and where settlements on other planets are places that people can “relax and enjoy the experience of a quality drink”, despite being in a zero gravity environment.

The complex glasses are printed using 3D machines, with it currently taking 15 hours to print one glass.

CLC said of its project: “This campaign will help us test the glass in real weightless environments, which is very difficult to simulate on Earth. The cost of materials, babysitting the process, and cleaning the glass is not cheap. A basic hobby printer cannot make the glass, because it does not create the support structure. Our best glass prototypes come from high-end $30,000 printers, but that is about $1,000 a pop. We are currently using a mid-range printer, which is a happy medium for quality and price. For the campaign, we are seeking third party services which can give us a a good deal for modest print run.”

However to fully test the product and launch it into production the team needs to raise $30,000, with the ultimate goal to print a glass on board the International Space Station by October 2015. The campaign has so far raised $1,805 of its goal.

The project is being supported by the Space Frontier Foundation and the Space Tourism Society.

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