Skip to main content

An out-of-this-world brew: Engineering students aim to make beer on the moon

engineering students brew moon beer moonbeer1
Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications
Ever since the popularity of craft beer catapulted itself to the stratosphere, amateur homebrewers have spent countless hours concocting IPAs, pale ales, or porters in the confines of their (assuredly dusty) garages. However, in what can safely be classified as an act of ultimate one-upmanship, a team of engineering students at the University of California, San Diego, currently have their sights set on being the first to brew a fresh batch of beer on the (certainly dusty) surface of the moon. For science, of course.

A project conducted for Google Lunar XPrize participant TeamIndus and its Lab2Moon competition, the students intend to base much of their research on the ability of yeast to survive the moon’s harsh environment. Aside from utilizing yeast to whip up a batch of moon beer, the team hopes to have the ability to gather data pertaining to the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and foods containing yeast, such as bread. Though the mission bears importance for its wide range of yeast-fueled experiments, there’s no doubt the beer brewing aspect is the team’s favorite.

Related Videos

“The idea started out with a few laughs amongst a group of friends,” said Neeki Ashari, a UC San Diego bioengineering student and the team’s PR and operations lead. “We all appreciate the craft of beer, and some of us own our own homebrewing kits. When we heard that there was an opportunity to design an experiment that would go up on India’s moonlander, we thought we could combine our hobby with the competition by focusing on the viability of yeast in outer space.”

Original Gravity’s three compartment brew module Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Self-dubbed as “Team Original Gravity,” the engineering students — of which hail from from UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering — are one of 25 different teams competing for space on TeamIndus’ spacecraft. With a launch tentatively scheduled to take place on December 28 of this year, TeamIndus intends to pick the winning experiment in March. Should Original Gravity win the esteemed competition, it would carry the honor of being the first to take a crack at brewing beer in space.

Due in part to the fact brewing beer in outer space would be wildly different than brewing on Earth, Original Gravity went to the drawing board to develop a feasible strategy. What it came up with was to first conduct the fermentation process of brewing beer — a process which yields a brew’s wort — on land instead of in the team’s experimentation vessel. Additionally, the student group plans on combining the fermentation and carbonation phases — of which are typically separate — to help remove process of releasing C02, a step which could cause issues of safety, sanitation, and over-pressurization. To test the brew’s fermentation and yeast viability, the team intends to lean on pressure readings instead of density measurements (since these require gravity).

“Converting the pressure buildup to fermentation progress is straightforward, as long as volume and original gravity — specific gravity before fermentation, hence our name — are known prior to the experiment,” added Han Ling, a bioengineering undergraduate and Original Gravity’s brewing lead.

What’s equally as impressive as Original Gravity’s goal of brewing beer in space is the vessel by which the team plans to brew (seen above). Measuring no larger than a typical soda can, the container is comprised of three separate sections. Featuring a top compartment which includes the unfermented beer, the vessel’s middle section is where the team will insert the yeast. Once the spacecraft successfully lands on the moon, a valve on the vessel will release, combining the two compartments. After the yeast does its thing, another valve opens to allow the now-fermented beer to settle into the third compartment.

In addition to members Ashari and Ling, Original Gravity also includes UC San Diego students Johnny Koo, Jared Buchanan, Sebastian Kaser, Clarissa Hoffman, Seth Choi, Srivaths Kaylan, Jeff Cash, and Tavish Traut. Over the next few months, the team plans to perfect its project before traveling to Bangalore, India, in March to show off their final design model to TeamIndus.

Editors' Recommendations

Nanoleaf opens preorders for its first-ever Matter smart lights
The Nanoleaf Essential lineup installed in a home theater.

After a brief showing at CES 2023, Nanoleaf’s Matter-enabled smart lighting solutions are now available for preorder. The Essentials lineup consists of both smart light bulbs and smart lightstrips -- and with full support for Matter, they should be easy to integrate into most smart homes.

Three new products are arriving this year, with the Essentials A19 Light Bulb, BR30 Light Bulb, and Essentials Lightstrip all expected to arrive before the end of April. All three work with Matter over Thread, marking the first time Nanoleaf has used the interoperability standard in a product launch. Pricing for the devices starts at $20 for a single smart bulb and goes up to $50 for the Essentials Lightstrip, positioning the lineup as a reasonably affordable way to bring Matter into your smart home.

Read more
The Aventon Abound cargo ebike is perfect for grocery trips, hauling gear, and more
Aventon Abound rider with plants and store bought items on road.


This content was produced in partnership with Aventon.
Ebikes or electric bikes are the next wave of sustainable and convenient transportation, merging the manual machinations of a bicycle with an electric motor to empower the average rider. Aventon is at the forefront of that innovation, offering several thoughtful models like the , or the off-road friendly with fat tires. This time around they've shifted focus a little, offering an ebike, as you might expect, but with quite a bit more utility. Called Abound, it's the company's first-ever cargo ebike that can be used to haul, well, just about anything.

Read more
Are Blink’s floodlight and solar panel add-ons worth it?
blink expands lineup affordable video doorbell floodlight camera

The Blink Outdoor Camera is an affordable, versatile security camera that is just at home in the pouring rain as it is tucked away in a corner of your entryway. The camera has an MSRP of $100, but frequently goes on sale for around $70 or less. On its own, the Blink Outdoor Camera has infrared night vision, 1080p streaming and recording, two-way audio, and up to two years of battery life on just a pair of AA batteries.

That's just on its own, though. You can improve the functionality of the cameras thanks to two accessories: Solar panel housing and a floodlight. The camera snaps into a built-in mount, while a short cable connects the camera to the accessory. This cable will either provide power via the solar panel or will allow the camera's motion sensors to activate the floodlights.

Read more