NPR wrote:...the space-age coffee machine — called, naturally the "ISSpresso" — is a capsule-based brewing system. It's similar in principle to a Keurig machine. But engineers at the Italian aerospace firm Argotec, along with coffee company Lavazza and the Italian space agency, ASI, finessed it to function in a microgravity environment.
Just when did space get so hipster? First they the start growing their own salad and vegetables up there, and now they've got fancy coffee — what's next, a microbrewery on Mars?
But mainly, we wondered — why is it so complicated to make coffee on the ISS? To help answer that question, we called up Vickie Kloeris, the manager of the NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory.
"You can't just send a regular espresso machine to orbit and expect it to work," she says. Here on Earth, coffee machines depend heavily on gravity, she explains. But on the ISS, there's only a minuscule amount of gravity — called microgravity. So everything floats.
The biggest challenge is figuring out how to keep the scalding water inside the espresso machine contained, Kloeris says. Everything has to be sealed, secure and safe.
These extra bells and whistles make the ISSpresso weigh over 40 pounds, according to Avino. The plan is to send the machine up to the ISS with Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti next year.
Initially, the machine will come with only 20 single-serve coffee capsules. "Our machine is still an experiment," Avino says. If all goes well, he says, the machine could become a permanent addition to the space station
LINK TO NPR STORY
According to NASA: "Today, it costs $10,000 to put a pound of payload in Earth orbit."
Notice that we (the US) were up there for years. So were the Ruskis, et al... but NOBODY bothered to figure out how to make an even passable cup of coffee in space... until the Italians just couldn't take it any more, I guess.
This demonstrates two things:
1) Why Italy is so beautiful, and how her people generally so full of life, ready to enjoy it! Nobody else had the good goddamn sense to recognize the necessity for a decent fucking cup of coffee? I can think of a few members here who would fucking expire were it not for regular (nay, constant) doses.
2) Why Italy is fucking broke.