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There’s a new espresso machine in town but this one is a little different than the ones we’re used to. Sure, it makes espresso coffee but one that you can take into space. The new space espresso machine was especially designed for astronauts to enjoy their coffee in a non-gravity environment.
The espresso machine defies the low gravity on the International Space Station (ISS) where astronauts live for a long period of time. From now on, they can enjoy their morning coffee like their terrestrial kind.
The new space espresso machine was created by the famous Lavazza in collaboration with Argotec. The space espresso machine was named ISSpresso and the special thing about it, and the feature that allows it to work where there’s no gravity, is that it can distribute water under high pressure through a machine and into a plastic bag, where it can be drank using a straw.
Besides functioning properly, the ISSpresso must also withstand very strong pressure, which happens a lot when being into space. Also, the machine has to negotiate fluid dynamics in an environment where there is no weight.
The espresso machine weighs about 44 pounds and moves the water through a steel tube inside it. The ISSpresso doesn’t only make espresso coffee, it can also make tea, café lungo, infusions and soup broth.
The most excited ones about the new space espresso machine are the astronauts, obviously, who will be able to enjoy a good Italian coffee instead of the regular instant coffee.
A paper called “The Capillary Fluidics of Espresso” was presented by a team of scientists from the Portland State University, describing how to enjoy an espresso while in space. The scientists said that one needs a proper cup and replace the role of gravity with the forces of surface tension.
The team of scientists explained:
“Espresso is distinguished by a complex low density colloid of emulsified oils. Due to gravity, these oils rise to the surface forming a foam lid called the crema. To some, the texture and aromatics of the crema play a critical role in the overall espresso experience. We show how in the low-g environment this may not be possible. We also suggest alternate methods for enjoying espresso aboard spacecraft.”