Which came first: the beer or the human? If the planet is Mars, the answer may be “beer” … at least if the most famous name in brews has its way. Budweiser is solidifying its position as leader of the space suds race by sending barley to the International Space Station in December to study the effects of microgravity on beer ingredients so that the first partakers of red planet pilsner won’t have to worry about the head being on the bottom rather than the top of the glass.
Despite its past history of frogs, bikini babes and ex-jocks hawking their hops, this is no marketing ploy by Budweiser. The company announced this week that it has teamed up with real space travel organizations such as the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the manager of the ISS U.S. National Laboratory (motto: to boldly go beyond Tang and Velcro), and Space Tango (soon to be a new feature on Dancing With The Stars), which designs, builds, and operates “integrated systems that facilitate microgravity research and manufacturing focused for application on Earth.” This syndicate of stout is now focusing on the future and developing products for application on Mars. And what is the first thing Martian base builders will want after a hard day of lifting stones that only weigh about one-third of what they would on Earth?
No, not potatoes, Matt Damon. Beer! The first barley-on-board mission is scheduled for December 4th on the upcoming SpaceX CRS-13 cargo supply mission – you knew that Elon Musk would muscle in on this project in some way. Upon arrival, the first step will be to lock up the experiment where thirsty astronauts and cosmonaut won’t be lined up with their space steins. The month-long two-part experiment will study barley germination in space and the effects of cosmic radiation exposure on the process. After a month in space, the seeds will return to Earth to a Budweiser lab for study.
Is Bud planning a red beer for the red Planet? A Flanders red ale might be the perfect cold beverage delivered to Martian workers in a cooler strapped to a rover. For now, Budweiser isn’t saying what the first Martian beer might be. A good guess might be “whatever Elon Musk drinks.”