Science, Technology

Will India brew beer on its spacecraft?

Every opening hour of every sitting of Lok Sabha which is India’s lower house of Parliament is in most cases kept a side for questions. Member of the lower house parliament can ask the government of the day about anything, and the minister in charge of the department that might answer that question has to answer. In most cases, there are just a few members that ask a lot of questions. But once in a while there are some very very unusual ones.

In a very short question directed towards the governments department of space, the Trinamool Congress member of parliament from West Bengal’s Kanthi wanted to know “whether an Indian spacecraft is planning to brew beer on the moon”?

After the question he also followed up with: “…if so, the details of research plan and viability of yeast test…?”

In his reply on March 15, Jitendra Singh, the minister of state in the prime minister’s office, which oversees the department of space, messed up a little—but didn’t let the question get to his head:

No Madam (Editor’s note: Adhikari is a 75-year-old man). There is no plan to brew beer on the moon by any spacecraft to be made by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). However, Team Indus, a privately funded team under the Axiom Research Labs Pvt. Ltd., is competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition towards building a spacecraft capable of soft landing and roving on the Moon. The spacecraft is proposed to be launched onboard ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) under a commercial launch agreement. As understood from media reports that, Team Indus is proposing an experiment to brew beer on the Moon using yeast.

And to answer the second part of Adhikari’s question, Singh added:

As understood, the aim of this experiment is to test and observe the survivability of yeast in space and how it performs under Moon’s gravity conditions. The experiment plans to brew a small batch of beer in space.