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Question Your World: Can We Have Good Coffee In Space?

Coffee is one of the most traded goods on this planet and regardless of location or language it continues to be a part of humanity's morning traditions. As we have explored various aspects of our natural world, coffee has followed us along. But what about space? Can we have good coffee in space? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to find out.

One of the most familiar aspects of the work day is that precious and often vital first cup of coffee. The coffee bean's earliest uses date back to Ethiopia and quickly spread to the rest of the globe. As of now it remains one of the most traded goods around the planet, crossing nearly all cultures, languages, occupations, and locations. Here in the United States we move about 400 million cups of joe every single day. When marketing executives in Manhattan meet for early meetings, coffee is there. As a groggy college student wakes up early to cram for that physics final, coffee is there. When bus drivers wake before sunrise to get ready to tackle the day, coffee is there. When marine researchers wake up in a submarine hundreds of feet below water where the sunlight can not even penetrate the darkness, coffee is there. Well, this point was dully noted by Italian astronaut Luco Parmitano during his time on board the International Space Station. There's no sound in space, but a direct signal transmitted to Earth can come across loud and clear. Well, that's exactly what happened and Italian coffee company LavAzza responded to the astronaut's caffeine distress call by creating the first ever zero gravity espresso machine. And what did they name it? The ISSpresso, of course!

The ISS is already home to many domestic commodities ranging from a small zero gravity kitchenette, functional restrooms, bay windows, and so on. Later this year the world's first zero gravity espresso machine will be taking off and heading to humanity's cozy floating home in orbit around Earth. LaVazza has shared the inner workings of this espresso machine and hopes that this creature comfort from home will further help make space a bit more of a comfortable environment for humanity to work in. After all the mornings here on Earth are tough without good coffee, just imagine life up there where the sun rises sixteen times a day!

Article by: Prabir Mehta, Science Museum of Virginia
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