Budweiser to Conduct Experiments on the International Space Station Next Month
Back in March, Anheuser-Busch made an interesting pledge for a beer brand. At this year’s South by Southwest festival, the brewing giant announced its “Bud on Mars” initiative, promising to take the necessary steps to make Budweiser the first beer on the red planet. Granted, if any beer brand has the resources to make this kind of science fiction a reality, it’s The King of Beers. And the commitment was more than just talk: The initiative is a partnership with CASIS, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS). Still, what does it actually mean to strive to be the first beer on Mars? With the reality of travel to Mars still a far-flung idea, Bud’s current pledge doesn’t feel much different than if Adolphus Busch had promised to make Bud the first beer on the moon back in the 19th century.
Well, today, Budweiser announced what those first steps towards getting its beer to Mars will be. Next month, two experiments are scheduled to be conducted on the ISS to help better understand how barley reacts to a microgravity environment, looking at 20 Budweiser barley seedlings in total. The first experiment will focus on how exposure to a microgravity environment affects the seeds in general, while the second experiment will specifically focus on barley germination to see if the seeds grow at the same rate in space as they do on Earth.
“Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”
Both experiments will be included as part of a SpaceX cargo supply mission set to launch on December 4 from Cape Canaveral. Once that payload reaches the ISS, the experiments will remain aboard the ISS for 30 days before being returned to Earth for analysis by Budweiser’s innovation team. Along with CASIS, for this project Budweiser will also be working with Space Tango, “a company that operates a commercial facility on the ISS National Lab.”
“The International Space Station offers a vast backdrop for a variety of research, and it is an opportunity for companies like Budweiser to expand their knowledge-base—in this case on the evaluation of plant biology in microgravity,” said Patrick, Marketing Communications Manager, CASIS. Along those lines, Budweiser suggests the results of these experiments might not only help with Bud’s future travels to Mars, but could benefit barley production and the larger agricultural community back on our green and blue planet as well.