Life in space is quite a challenge even for the well-trained astronauts on International Space Station, but soon their mornings will be much more pleasant with a cup of hot, freshly brewed espresso. No, Starbucks is not expanding in space yet, neither its famous Verismo machine works there. Of course, responsible for this inspiring triumph of lifestyle over nature, are Italians.
A pair of Italian companies have created an Espresso machine specially designed to bring your favourite beverage in zero gravity. Argotec, an aerospace engineering company, and the famous coffee maker Lavazza have cooperated with the Italian Space Agency for the new brewer, called ISSpresso machine (derived from International Space Station). But given the extreme conditions in outer space, how is it even possible to brew coffee? The developers explain that the machine had to experience certain modifications to withstand the conditions in the station’s microgravity environment.
One of best achievements of the scientists is the steel tube which has replaced the typical plastic tube that normally delivers water in the coffeemaker. The hardened, steel part is capable of resisting pressures of over 400 bar, so no liquid could escape. The coffee comes in capsules rather than brewed on site. Of course, the final product can’t be poured into a cup; it will be served in a sealed espresso pouch. So, while the station is orbiting the Earth 400 km above the planet’s surface, astronauts will enjoy sucking up their morning coffee with a straw.
This may sound not-so-fabulous, but until now, most drinks have been delivered to the international Space Station as powders and then mixed with water. The machine will make not only espresso, but also tea, coffee, and will be able to dehydrate food. So, the coffee brewer is not just a high-tech innovation, but it is also a piece of luxury. Here, drinking freshly brewed coffee may be as regular as washing your teeth every morning, but in outer space, it is a real adventure.
And the big question is – how will the coffee taste? Amazingly, although scientists promise an intense flavor”, it will be duller than what we’re accustomed to. The reason is that people can’t smell its aroma in the space! However, it will still be better than the instant coffee astronauts drink right now.