Tagged: NASA

Science Tuesday: Celestial Beer

By Christina Janansky, Staff Writer

So, imagine a beer with celestial bits in it./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Lindsey Gira

Fall — and all the wonderful things that come with it— is finally fully upon us. Pumpkin Spice Lattes, fiery-colored leaves and lace-up boots speckle Commonwealth Avenue as students warmly welcome the coming of the season.

However, Dogfish Head Brewery has found a different way to rejoice autumn’s arrival. To properly celebrate the fall equinox in late September, the Delaware-based brewery released a small-batch beer with a Big Bang: the company’s new “celest-jewel-ale” beer is actually made with the crushed dust of lunar meteorites.

The lunar dust, according to the Dogfish Head website, gives the ale a rich Oktoberfest feel, with notes of “doughy malt, toasted bread, subtle caramel and a light herbal bitterness.” The combination of these ancient particles — which are made up mostly by minerals and salts — with German malts and hops yields a “German style” earthiness after a yeast-induced fermentation process.

According to an online article in Discovery News, Dogfish Head acquired their special stellar ingredient from “friends” at the ILC Dover, a company that creates suits specifically for NASA. Through ILC Dover, Dogfish Head was able to access a small portion of the rare intergalactic ingredient and incorporate it into their celebratory celestial brew.

As if the beer itself wasn’t cool enough, ILC Dover gave the Dogfish Head creation a cool aesthetic element: 10 custom “space suit” koozies for the brews, made up of the Orthofabric exterior layer used for NASA spacesuits. These koozies are actually like mini spacesuits themselves: they can withstand temperatures ranging from -250 to +250 degrees Fahrenheit, can shield the beer against micrometeorites traveling at 10 miles per second, block out solar radiation and endure the crippling nature of a vacuum in space.

“Unnecessary” sounds like a bit of an understatement for the koozies’ elaborate features, but who cares? This stuff is beyond cool, right?

Unfortunately, landing a taste of the “celest-jewel-ale” beer doesn’t seem feasible, since the brewery is all the way in the middle of Delaware.

But as a 21-year-old, beer-loving space nerd, it just might be worth the expedition.

Will the world end?

By Kimberly Clark, Science Tuesday Editor

According to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the end of the world will be Dec. 21.

I doubt anyone finds this statement majorly shocking or troublesome. People have been anticipating some sort of cataclysmic event for years. William Miller, a Baptist preacher, thought that, according to the Bible, the end of the world would occur by March 21, 1844. Fifty thousand New Englanders believed him. Obviously, it didn’t happen.

Harold Camping, an American Christian radio broadcaster, claimed that Miller’s interpretation of the Bible was wrong and that the end of the world was going to be May 21, 2011. I think we can all call him out on that one.

2012 poster

The poster for “2012” / IMAGE VIA fandango.com

And even Hollywood threw its interpretation into the mix and gave us the movie “2012.”

So the idea that the world will come to an end is not a new one and despite certain predictions, it hasn’t happened yet. But does that mean we shouldn’t worry?

Well, in terms of the Mayan calendar interpretation, I don’t think it should be something to lose sleep over. Studying for finals will do that to you, anyway.

However, the people who are losing sleep over a possible end to the world are convinced that the end of the Mayan “long count” calendar, which lands on Dec. 21, 2012, spells disaster for the world as we know it. The last time the “long count” calendar ended was in the Gregorian year 1000. And yet, here we are.

But it’s not to imply that a cataclysmic event cannot occur. It happened to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit the earth and vaporized sulfur-rich rocks which resulted in acid rain and plummeting global temperatures.

There was also that volcanic eruption in Siberia 250 million years ago that caused the extinction of approximately 80 percent of all species.

Today, according to NASA, Earth is surrounded by nearly 10,000 asteroids that are within striking distance. Also, the levels of carbon dioxide are higher than they have ever been in 800,000 years. And from the extreme weather patterns the world has experienced over the years (the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Typhoon Bopha, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, to name a few), we should know by now that Mother Nature isn’t fooling around. Global warming is no joke. Thank you, humans.

So maybe the more important question is not just if the world will end, but how and when?