Millennials are constantly being bashed for having unrealistic career goals for their age, but sometimes there’s a difference between lofty pursuits and unlikely ones.
A group of six college students from the University of California – San Diego are finalists in the Google-backed Lunar XPRIZE challenge, an endeavor designed to use science to further reduce costs and barriers to entry so that private industry can work alongside government agencies to advance lunar exploration. Lunar XPrize describes the moon as an essential stepping-stone to the rest of the universe, and says it represents a unique opportunity to learn from our closest neighbor.
The engineering students from San Diego have invented a device they believe can ferment yeast in zero-gravity, allowing them to essentially brew beer on the moon.
According to Business Insider, the students have developed a small 3D-printed device with three compartments: one holding electronic controllers, one for a sugary liquid, and one for yeast. When the rover lands on the moon, a valve automatically opens the three segments and the yeast begins to create carbon dioxide by eating the liquid’s sugars, thus creating beer.
If moon beer seems like an odd pursuit, rest assured that the group has nobler goals for the technology: understanding how yeast behaves in a lunar gravity environment could open the door for possibly producing bread or pharmaceuticals like insulin in space. So if we ever needed to live on the moon, we would have food, medicine and beer.
Business Insider says that if their project wins the Lunar XPrize, they’ll receive $20 million and be able to test their device by launching a lunar lander and rover to the moon at the end of this year.