This Week in Space

Nov 10th 2023

This Week in Space 87

One Lunar Fizz Please

Hosted by Rod Pyle, Tariq Malik

Drinking in Space With Colleen McLeod Garner

New episodes posted every Friday.
Category: News

As more people take tourist jaunts into space, and eventually into orbit for longer stays, social drinking will become part of the experience—even if it's just that bottle of congratulatory champagne. Besides the odd effects of zero-g on fizzy drinks in the stomach, the effects of imbibing alcohol cause a wide variety of risks and concerns. And while this is not entirely unknown territory—the Russians have been known to drink cognac from time to time (and are strongly suspected of taking vodka into space), the data is slim. Space alcohol expert Colleen McLeod Garner has studied this for years and written articles on the topic and will join us to discuss the joys and potential downsides of the consumption of booze in the final frontier—no fake IDs allowed!


  • Astronaut Frank Borman, Gemini 7 and Apollo 8 commander, has died at age 95. He was an icon of the early space program.
  • NASA launches a new free streaming app called NASA+ with space documentaries and live events.
  • A tiny experimental satellite called TRISAT-R managed to take a blurry photo of Earth with a camera the size of a coin's edge.

Main Topic: Alcohol Use in Space

  • Brief history: NASA bans it, but a few Russians have consumed vodka in space. Astronauts had communion wine. 
  • Pros: Provides relaxation, normalcy, creature comforts to deal with stress. Processes in alcohol fermentation could be a component in closed-loop recycling.
  • Cons: Impairs functioning, cognition. Unknown effects in zero-G include faster absorption, longer lasting buzz. Beer causes wet burps (gas issues).
  • Experiments: Aging whiskey, wine, and beer in space - some marketing gimmicks but also valuable research.
  • Tourism vs. settlements: Rules may be looser for paying tourists than permanent crews.  
  • Challenges: Regulating it, possible licensing. Hard to brew/produce enough in space initially.
  • Favorite space drinks: The TWiS crew pick Romulan ale and tequila for their ideal cosmic cocktails and share amusing stories and perspectives on responsible alcohol use in space. 

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