UCSD Students May Be the First to Brew Beer on the Moon

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Brew Dogs, then you may be familiar with odd places to brew beer – on a train, underwater, and basically anywhere those hilarious Scottish brewers choose. While they may be innovative in their beer methods, one group of college students may have them beat with their brewing location – the moon.

A group of students from the University of California San Diego are in the ranks to win a potential shot at making their beer dreams come true. The UCSD group known as Team Original Gravity is one of 25 finalists in the Lab2Moon competition being held by Indian startup TeamIndus.

TeamIndus is one of four spacecraft vessels who have a launch contract funded by Google’s Lunar XPRIZE competition. If chosen by TeamIndus, the group will take their experiment of testing the viability of yeast into space, and turn it into the first beer to be brewed on the moon.

What could be benefited from this space experiment? Beyond brewing beer, it is important to understanding the development of food in space as well as pharmaceuticals.

And this understanding is precisely the kind of experiment the competition is looking for. According to TeamIndus, the goal of Lab2Moon is to “build an experiment that will help us build sustainable life on the moon” in hopes to transition into a multi-planetary species. Having sorted through 3,000 applicants all under the age of 25, the competition is in now in its second phase where finalist are asked to build a prototype of their experiments.

So how exactly does Team Original Gravity propose going about brewing in space? By using fermentation canisters the size of a beer can.

UC San Diego

What the team will do is brew the wort on Earth, then combine the fermentation and conditioning phase in a single canister when they reach the moon. The canister being used contains three compartments: one for the wort, another for the yeast, and one where the two can engage in fermentation. Once the yeast has finished, a valve will separate it from the beer.

As they can’t take a gravity reading of the beer on the moon, they plan to test the viability of the yeast by using pressure. As long as they have the original gravity of the wort prior, they will be able to analyze the yeast.

It’s no secret that San Diego is a beer mecca. With over 100 breweries in the county and an identity defined by craft beer, it only seems fitting that San Diegans may get the first shot at brewing on the moon.

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