Scientist, 11, proposes making beer aboard Space Station for survival
Remember the name Michal Bodzianowski. He’s the first craft brewer in outerspace.
The six-grader from Colorado won a prestigious national science competition by wondering how microgravity affects the fermentation process needed to make beer. The official title: “What Are the Effects of Creation of Beer in Microgravity and Is It Possible?”
But his proposal isn’t just about giving bored astronauts a buzz.
The youngster got the idea for his experimental proposal after reading about beer consumption in the Middle Ages, and how alcohol helped kill bacteria in contaminated water, and helped people survive. It might also be able to help astronauts survive a mishap in space, too, he theorized.
“If an emergency occurred, and all water was polluted,” the youngster wrote in his proposal, “creating beer from it will disinfect it, and it is relatively cheaper than purifying it with special tablets that may not last. And as it kills bacteria, it can also be used medically to disinfect wounds.”
Dr. Jeff Goldstein, director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, said he was impressed by the real-life scientific application at the root of the proposal.
“This isn’t just about ‘Beer in space! Wow! Aren’t the astronauts going to have a blast with beer in space!’” he told the Los Angeles Times.
The first steps in the experiment will now play out at the International Space Station, according to the Denver Post, and will take place within a 6-inch silicon tube containing hops, barley, yeast and water. “It is now scheduled to blast off on... Dec. 8.” Goldstein added.
“We’re just trying to get the yeast to react with the ingredients of beer,” the youngster told the Denver Post. “If it doesn’t react at all, this tells you it won’t work.”
Goldstein’s center is part of an urgent effort to encourage the nation’s children to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Goldstein said such programs immerse children in an environment that mirrors the world of scientific research. Goldstein said his first formal research proposal came when he was in graduate school; the same for his first formal presentation.
“Now, you have kids who are 10 and 11 years old who are doing it, and that’s great. This is what science and technology education for the 21st century is all about.”
He added: “Michal Bodzianowski is one of the scientists and engineers of the future.” Or, perhaps, master beer brewer.
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