Students Want to Make Beer on the Moon

The team has been shortlisted as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE Challenge

Artwork by Deswick Correa

There have been a lot of experiments conducted on the moon. The first men on the moon, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr. conducted three scientific experiments: a Laser Ranging Retroreflector to measure the distance between the Earth and the Moon, the second to measure lunar shock waves, and the third to determine the chemical composition of solar wind. Now, engineering students of the University of California, San Diego, want to conduct an experiment that we believe is for the good of humanity: Can beer be brewed on the moon?

The group that calls itself “Team Original Gravity”, will be one of 25 teams who will compete for a spot on Indian startup TeamIndus’ spacecraft. This experiment is part of the Lab2Moon competition being conducted by TeamIndus as part of the Google Lunar XPRIZE Challenge.

“The idea started out with a few laughs among a group of friends. We all appreciate the craft of beer, and some of us own our own home-brewing kits,” said Neeki Ashari, one of the students on the team.

The canister that is expected to be sent to the moon (if they win) will have three compartments: the top will be filled with the unfermented beer, the second will have yeast. When the lunar rover containing the canister lands on the moon, the yeast and the unfermented beer will mix. Then, another valve will open to help separate the yeast from the beer.

The experiment is actually designed to understand how yeast behaves on the moon and could help us understand the development of pharmaceuticals and foods that contain yeast.

If all goes well and the team is shortlisted, the canister containing yeast and the beer will be launched into space on December 28. Unfortunately, there won’t be anyone to taste it; the last person to have stepped on the moon was in 1972. But we reckon Homer Simpson will be up for the job!