Budweiser sends barley seeds into space
Is there beer on Mars? Not yet, but there soon could be thanks to Anheuser Busch and its plans for Budweiser to become the first beer on Mars.
The company announced its ‘Bud on Mars’ initiative back in November, but this week turned its words into actions when it sent astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) 20 barley seeds that will be used in two experiments designed to see how the crop functions in space.
The barley seeds will take part in two experiments conducted by the Centre for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). The experiments will examine how the seeds react to their new environment so we know whether barley is compatible with space and also so we can learn more about how the crop functions on earth.
The seeds will be kept in self-contained Space Tango laboratories which will be around the size of a shoe box. One of the mini laboratories will expose the barley seeds to microgravity to see how they react. The second laboratory will focus on the barley germination period to determine whether the barley grows at the same rate in space as it does on earth.
The barley will spend about 30 days on board the ISS before being shipped back to earth in January for the analysis.
This isn’t the first time that space beer has been trialled. In 2014 Oregon’s Ninkasi Brewing Company sent a rocket carrying vials of brewer’s yeast into space, with the intention of brewing a beer with its once it had returned to earth.
Barley is a versatile crop which is able to grow in harsh environments including cold temperatures, so there is a good chance it may thrive on the red planet. Should Budweiser’s mission be successful, it could be a huge step towards making space agriculture a possibility.
The ISS astronauts aboard the ISS received 4,800 pounds worth of supplies on December 17, including the seeds, scientific equipment and space gear.