Due to inspirational Physics developments, it is now possible for astronauts to drink Whisky in Space. The activity of visiting to space may be a dangerous one but at the end of each day, the astronauts can rest easy when they are assured that they can have a ‘real’ drink, which isn’t out of a plastic bag. Apparently, this is one of the most common complaints from the International Space Station (ISS) crews that they miss their familiar Earth-like environment back home.
Plating in the Solution to the Problem
On hearing this, Ballatine’s therefore addressed this by commissioning an Open Space Agency team, led by James Parr, in order to create an innovative, microgravity glass which would enable the astronauts in question to enjoy a glass of whisky, just as they would with their feet on the Earth. Ballatine’s Space Glass looks like a regular whisky glass but has special, particular features allowing liquid to enter the glass, stay in the glass and which allow sipping.
It has been studied for over a year as to how whisky behaves in a zero gravity environment by building a series of prototype glasses to test their theories. The final result is something that somewhat resembles a Don Draper balloon glass but which is made out of 3D printed plastic and has a weighted rose-gold plated spiral convex base which sits perfectly in the holders hand. Its weight comes from the 10kg pull magnet, giving the glass some inertia, anchoring it to the table when in zero gravity. The base also contains a clever, one-way valve to fill the glass using a standard Ballantine’s whisky bottle, in order to stop the whisky from spilling.
Gold Plated Glasses
The reason as to why the Space Glass has been gold plated was partly due to the aesthetics with the gold plating matching the plating used on the astronauts’ sun visors on their spacesuits. But the gold plating was also used because it is one of the very few metals which does not affect the taste of the whisky when in Space.
How does Gold Plating help drinking in Space?
When liquids are in Space, they tend to turn in to a sticky jelly, so to counteract this from happening with the whisky, a spiral in the glass creates surface tension which holds it down. The side of the glass contains a helix with a small channel concealed inside it which picks up the whisky in a capillary action, pulling it up to a gold plated mouthpiece on the rim of the glass. Why a gold plated mouth piece you may well ask? This is for multiple reasons – Firstly, so that the astronaut can physically see where their lips are meant to be placed so that they are over the concealed channel exit point and they know where to put their lips. Secondly, the gold cools the alcohol as it passes through the mouthpiece. Thirdly, gold plating and not metal plating of any other kind, means that there is no nasty after taste left in the mouth of the drinker and the texture of drinking out of what (at the end of the day) is a plastic beaker, is concealed.
NiTEC UK and You
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