Humans have cluttered the Moon’s surface with a lot of strange items in the past, but none have been quite so refreshing as this. As The Telegraph reports, a team of scientists from the University of California, San Diego is competing to send its beer-fermenting vessel to Earth's one and only natural satellite.
The experiment is less about brewing up a tasty beverage than it is about studying the effects of microgravity on yeast. This is how it will play out if all goes as planned: A spacecraft will deliver the beer-brewing lunar rover to its destination later this year. The onboard equipment will activate. A valve separating the wort (unfermented beer) in one compartment from the yeast in another will lift so the two components can intermingle. The fermentation and carbonation are supposed to happen simultaneously, which means there will be no excess carbon dioxide to dispose of. After the beer has had time to ferment, the leftover yeast will sink into a separate part of the vessel.
Depending on the success of the final product, scientists will be better prepared to develop yeast-containing foods and pharmaceuticals on the Moon’s surface in the future.
The team will have to beat out several others to put their plan into action. India’s TeamIndus, who are in a competition of their own for the Google Lunar XPRIZE, selected the University of California group to be one of the 25 teams competing for a prime spot on their lunar trip, planned for December 28, 2017.
When TeamIndus reaches the Moon (with or without its boozy cargo), their rover will be tasked with landing successfully, traveling 500 meters, and sending high-definition images and video back to Earth. The first team that’s able to complete this mission by the end of 2017 will receive a $20 million prize from Google. So far five teams have secured approval to launch their spacecraft, and TeamIndus is the first to set a launch date.
[h/t The Telegraph]