Why Astronauts are Not Allowed to Drink Alcohol in Space

Have you ever seen your favorite Astronauts drinking alcohol in space? The answer is probably no as alcohol is highly prohibited in space. You may have seen astronauts drink water and other flavored liquids from their plastic bags.

You may begin to wonder about the possibilities of astronauts drinking other forms of liquids like alcohol following the same tactics they deploy in drinking water in space. Well, there are several reasons why alcohol is highly prohibited in the International Space Station and Beyond. You are about to uncover these reasons and more from this article.

Can Astronauts Drink Alcohol in Space?

In most parts of the world, drinking alcohol is a great part of human culture. Since astronauts also come from different regions of the earth where drinking alcohol is highly appreciated, space agencies should allow them to take this beautiful culture to space. However, Space agencies take precautionary measures to regulate what astronauts consume in space.

After making several observations, they realize the dangers of alcohol on the health of astronauts. Hence, NASA, Rosmoscos, and other agencies operating the International Space Station banned astronauts from coming on board with Alcohol. No astronauts have ever thought of drinking alcohol in space until the first set of lunar explorers reached the lunar surface.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin drank the first wine in space when he ate communion while exploring the moon in the Lunar Module Eagle. After the world embraced the era of space stations, space agencies began to look forward to how to sustain astronauts with healthy foods during longer stays in space.

However, astronauts that cannot stay without their favorite brands of alcohol often smuggle their bottles into the space station. Some Russian cosmonauts have also revealed that they have smuggled bottles of cognac in their space suits intentionally mislabeling the drinks as juice bottles.

In 1997, an image of Russian Cosmonauts engaging in a cognac party aboard the Mir Space Station surfaced. From this image, people could tell that some astronauts can actually enjoy their favorite brand of alcohol while exploring space. However, After the launch of the International Space Station in 1998, space agencies began to create stricter measures to ensure that astronauts smuggle alcohol into space.

Why Astronauts are Prohibited from Drinking Alcohol in Space

Space agencies operating the space station collective agreed to prevent astronauts from drinking alcohol aboard the space station because of several reasons. Some of these reasons consist of the following.

1. Ethanol ingredient of Alcohol

Alcohol’s main ingredient is ethanol which has been discovered to exist as a volatile compound that could damage vital equipment aboard the space stations. In fact, this is one of the official reasons why space agencies prohibit drinking alcohol on the International Space Station (ISS).

Alcohol and other volatile compounds are not allowed aboard the space station because of their impact on the station’s water recovery system.

“Use of alcohol and other volatile compounds are controlled on ISS due to impacts their compounds can have on the station’s water recovery system,” a NASA spokesperson told the BBC in 2017.

This implies that products that contain any form of alcohol are also prohibited on the space station. These products may include perfume, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, and more.

2. Change of test and foamy mess

Scientists sent both beer and whiskey into space to study the impact of zero gravity on the brewing process and aging. The outcome of the experiment shows that bubbles of carbon dioxide or carbonation cannot rise to the top of the liquid. However, they randomly spread across the beer leading to a foamy mess.

The study also shows that the absence of gravity can slow down the aging process in the whiskey, which can significantly change its taste to a rubber, smoked fish, antiseptic-tinged smoke, and other unpleasant tasks. Hence, astronauts do not have to travel to space to avoid consuming alcohol that can easily change the taste or produces lots of foamy mess.

3. Carbonated liquids do not settle in the bottom of the stomach

Scientists advanced their studies about the impact of alcohol in space and discovered that the absence of gravity can prevent carbonated liquid from settling in the bottom of the stomach.

NASA’s spokesperson William Jeffs reveals that all carbonated beverages are removed from the space menu as the gases will remain at the top and might expose astronauts to wet burps. Unless we figure out how to add artificial gravity to a space station, we may still be far from taking alcohol in space.

4. Health Safety of Astronauts

With the several dangers associated with taking alcohol in a zero-gravity environment, space agencies are working tirelessly to protect their astronauts from such drinks. If astronauts suffer wet burps for example due to alcohol intake, the person’s contribution to executing tasks aboard the space station will significantly reduce.

To ensure that the astronauts are safe, NASA and other space agencies are working tirelessly to protect astronauts from alcohol.

Conclusion

Drinking alcohol in space comes with several disadvantages. Hence, space agencies are working tirelessly to protect their astronauts and equipment from experiencing the impact of alcohol in space.

However, if we begin to add artificial gravity to space stations, we may reconsider the impact of taking alcohol in space once again. What do you think about astronauts drinking alcohol in space?

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