Here's Your Chance To Enter A Competition To Test Drinking Beer In Microgravity

Drinking in microgravity is a challenge, carbonated drinks are harder still, and we don't know the effects of alcohol, but some brave volunteers are trying aboard flights that offer 30 seconds of weightlessness at a time. Alicia Freeman

“Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Beer”, the t-shirts proclaim. Much as we don't want to discourage conservation efforts, this may soon not be quite as true as it once was, following efforts to produce a beer suited for drinking in space and a bottle to consume it from.

To drink any sort of liquid in microgravity you need to use straws or squeezable bottles. The absence of gravity means liquid won't flow into your mouth just by raising a glass and pouring. However, the problems are greater for carbonated drinks. Dr Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics told IFLScience that instead of bubbles of gas rising to the top of the drink, they become larger until you end up with a bubble surrounded by a shell of liquid. The problems don't end when the drink is consumed. “You want to burp, but the gas and liquid come up together,” Held says, although he hastens to add it is not dangerous. Finally, there is the question of whether alcohol can be drunk safely in microgravity.

As companies worldwide rush to be ready for the dawn of space tourism, Saber Astronautics and 4 Pines Brewing Company are trying to make sure future voyagers beyond the Earth's atmosphere can enjoy their favorite drink as they watch the Earth float by their window. No doubt there will be an even more lucrative market selling to those who can't afford to go into space, but will pay what they can to imitate the experience with the appropriate drink and dispenser while on the ground.

Stage one of this process was to find a beer low enough in carbonation to avoid some of the problems described, but containing enough gas you can “feel it on your tongue” and maintaining a desirable taste. While Held didn't want to give away any secrets on just how much carbon dioxide has been cut out, he told IFLScience the product produced by Sydney brewers 4 Pines is similar to some English-style lagers.

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