Budweiser to send barley into space

As part of its commitment to be first beer on Mars, Budweiser will send barley into space next month in order to study how one of beer’s key ingredients responds to microgravity environments.

Budweiser has partnered with the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the organisation that manages the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, and Space Tango, which operates two commercial research facilities within the national laboratory, to conduct a series of experiments.

The barley is to be carried on SpaceX’s cargo supply mission, due to launch on 4 December from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It will then remain in orbit for month before returning to earth for analysis.

Budweiser will analyse both the effects of barley seed exposure and barely seed germination to microgravity.

In a press release, the company states that its finds will not only “offer insights on steps to creating beer on the Red Planet, but it could also provide valuable information on the product of barley and the larger agricultural community here on earth”.

In early December, 20 barley seeds, packaged in two Space Tango “cube labs”, will be sent to the International Space station remaining in orbit for around 30 days.

Budweiser first announced its plans to join the space race in March this year, aiming to be the first beer sent to Mars.

Aside from the fact that a human mission to Mars is likely decades away from materialisation, Budweiser also faces other challenges.

Carbonated beverages are currently not permitted on space menus owing to the fact they tend to cause wet burps. Without gravity to draw liquids to the bottom of their stomachs, leaving gases at the top, astronauts are not told not to drink carbonated drinks.

In addition, with the absence of gravity, the bubbles are not drawn to the surface of the beer and foam is produced throughout the liquid.

Commenting on the development, Budweiser vice president Ricardo Marques said: “Budweiser 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.”

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