Nagoya firm attempting to brew beer in space
13:52 JST, January 4, 2022
A Nagoya-based precision machinery maker is working on technology for brewing out-of-this-world beer. Eyeing a future when people will stay in outer space for longer periods than now, the company said it aims to make it possible to produce fermented foods on the International Space Station or off-planet environments.
Takasago Electric Inc. was in charge of developing devices related to a cell-cultivation experiment that astronaut Akihiko Hoshide carried out while aboard the ISS as part of a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency project.
Although the company has never produced beer, it has taken on the space-related challenge.
Beer is brewed by fermenting sweet wort made from malt using yeast. If the fermentation takes place in almost zero gravity, such as inside the ISS, it is necessary to artificially create convective flows in the liquid to be successful.
Late last year, the company test-produced a palm-size automatic beer brewing machine, which can control the amount of discharged gases from the fermenting process.
Takasago Electric plans to confirm the technological trustworthiness of the machine by carrying out a demonstration experiment around spring.
The company aims to further downsize its machine, and put one on a rocket to be launched in 2024 to conduct experimental brewing.
Also, the company plans to bring back yeast grown in space to Earth and then produce a space-branded beer.
If space travel and stays in space increase, technologies to improve the quality of clothing, food and quarters will be necessary.
Expecting the demand for alcoholic beverages and fermented foods in space to increase, the company aims to develop technologies for mass-producing such products.
Naoya Asai, managing director of the company, said, “We aim to make it possible in 2030 for people in space to drink beer brewed in space.”
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