International Space Station to become first floating micro-brewery?

"What Are the Effects of Creation of Beer in Microgravity and Is It Possible?" is Colorado boy Michal Bodzianowski's contest-winning entry.
By Evan Bleier  |  Oct. 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM
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(UPI) -- Astronauts at the International Space Station may soon be able to partake in cosmic beer flights thanks to the efforts of 11-year-old Colorado boy Michal Bodzianowski.

Bodzianowski and his class entered a contest in which students devised microgravity experiments that could be flown to the space station. The sixth-grader's prize-winning entry -- "What Are the Effects of Creation of Beer in Microgravity and Is It Possible?" -- will launch in December.

"My dad posted this joke on Facebook, that this is the world's first microbrewery in space," Bodzianowski said. "Then he had to explain it to me."

He came up with the idea after reading a book called "Gruesome Facts" that explained why beer was so popular in the Middle Ages. "It was a punishment for crimes, that you couldn't drink beer," Bodzianowski said, "and most people didn't survive (that) because the water was contaminated."

In his design proposal, Bodzianowski wrote that beer is "an important factor in future civilization as an emergency backup hydration and medical source."

He also came up with some other uses that aren’t listed on the side of six-packs. “The fermentation process could be used to make beer, which can then be used as a disinfectant and a clean drinking source."

Bodzianowski's experiment will arrive at the ISS with its ingredients -- hops, water, yeast and malted barley -- in a tube and separated by clamps. Astronauts will unclamp the tube and shake up the ingredients to start the brewing process.

Meanwhile, Bodzianowski will run the same experiment here on Earth so he can compare his results with the astronauts'.

Julia Herz, the craft beer program director for the Brewers Association in Boulder, is waiting to see how Bodzianowski’s experiment fares after its launch. "The history of beer goes back thousands and thousands of years," she said. "Why not expand beer to another element of our universe -- space?"

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