They say kids are growing up faster these days. There may be no better example of that than 11-year-old Michal Bodzianowski, who created a micro-microbrewery for a project at the Highland Ranch, Colorado STEM School and Academy. The project was so impressive that the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program has awarded it the green light to blast into space in December for use aboard the ISS.
Bodzianowski says that while many people think of beer as a party drink, it also has medicinal properties—I think he’s been reading a few “Guinness is good for you” posters, or maybe he read the GFR post about hydrating beer. Whatever his motivations, Bodzianowski developed a brewery that can fit into a 6-inch test tube and contains the individual ingredients one would use to make beer, including yeast, water, and malted barley. Hey kid—you forgot the moon dust!
Bodzianowski knows how this tiny brewery works in his classroom, but is curious to see how his creation performs in micro-gravity. His tiny space brewing kit will blast off with a Cygnus spacecraft in mid-December. An astronaut aboard the ISS will shake up the test tube, mixing the yeast and other ingredients in order to start the fermentation process. Bodzianowski doesn’t want to get the astronauts drunk, or so he claims (the astronauts up there could probably use it, especially given the state of their funding right now). He actually wants to see if the fermentation process could make the resulting mixture into something that could be used as a disinfectant in the event of a medical emergency. It’s genius, if you think about it. There’s bound to be some accidents on the ISS, with all those astronauts bouncing around the metal confines. How cool would it be to shake up the contents of a test tube to clean a cut? It wouldn’t have saved George Clooney, but Bodzianowski’s only 11—he’s got plenty of time to tackle other space emergencies.
The Cygnus spacecraft has been making news lately too, for being only the second commercial spacecraft to dock with the ISS. The vessel unloaded its cargo and is currently being loaded up with trash and waste from the ISS. This Cygnus capsule will leave the ISS on October 22 and is set to burn up during its reentry into Earth’s atmosphere on October 24.