Astronauts who crave for espresso can celebrate as a new cup designed particularly for defying the low-gravity environments at the ISS (International Space Station) can also house the beverage in it.
Italy is on the move to send an espresso machine to the ISS, hence a team of researchers designed a special cup to let the astronauts drink espresso in a manner similar to that on Earth.
During the American Physical Society’s Divison of Fluid Dynamics Meeting in San Fransico, a high school student working with Mark Weislogel, who is the professor in the Thermal and Fluid Sciences Group at Portland State University, and Drew Wollman, who is a researcher in the same group, explained studying and working with different capillary fluidic effects to enable expresso in low-gravity environments.
“Because the variety of espresso drinks is extensive, we made specific property measurements to assess the effects of wetting and surface tension for ‘Italian’ espresso, caffè latte and caffè Americano,” explained Weislogel. “For some people, the texture and aromatics of the ‘crema’ play a critical role in the overall espresso experience. We show that in low-gravity environments this may not be possible, but suggest alternatives for enjoying espresso aboard spacecraft.”
This search for alternatives was responsible for the design of the special 3-D printable “espresso space cup” which fell from math.
Their work also has a more extended reach, much beyond espresso, “We’re striving to use our new methods to reassess all fluid systems aboard spacecraft — including cooling systems, fuel tanks, water processing equipment for life support, plant and animal habitats, medical fluids, foods, etc.,” noted Weislogel.
It’s an interesting time since tools are now readily available to construct advanced equipment for using in space with more reliability than ever. “The era of the ISS is the perfect time to develop and demonstrate these tools as we continue to explore our solar system,” Weislogel said.