General, Research, Technology

Why is alcohol prohibited on the ISS?

NASA Aerospace Agency and State CorporationRoscosmos is prohibited from bringing alcohol to the ISS. And this is quite logical, because on the space station, you cannot allow someone to get drunk - this can lead to disaster. But the official version of the reason for the ban says that ethyl alcohol contained in alcohol can get on equipment and break it. So, in addition to alcoholic drinks, antiseptics and rubbing alcohol cannot be used on the space station. But the author of Alcohol in Space, Chris Carberry, believes that aerospace companies have another important reason why space explorers are not allowed to drink alcohol. In this article, we will take a closer look at this reason, as well as find out how the ISS crew members managed to smuggle alcoholic beverages.

This may sound unexpected to some, but there is alcohol on the ISS

Alcohol in space

According to Chris Carberry, alcohol on the ISS isnot such a dangerous object. Most likely, NASA and Roscosmos fear most of all that society will consider sending alcohol to the space station a waste of taxpayer money. Indeed, in space it is quite possible to do without alcoholic beverages - this is not something vital. There is also the aforementioned probability that one of the crew members will get drunk. They are, of course, thoroughly trained, but nothing can be guaranteed. And in society there are many opponents of alcohol who can criticize NASA and Roscosmos. So it turns out that it is generally better not to carry alcohol into space.

But alcohol does happen on the International Space Station. At least, astronaut Clayton Anderson once recounted this:

NASA says there is no alcohol on board the ISS. As a person who has been at the station for five months, I can say that this is far from the case.

Astronauts' tricks

According to the author of the book about alcohol in space,the researchers carried alcohol with them many times. Most of them preferred brandy over vodka. They delivered smuggled goods inside decorative books or in food containers. Some researchers even went on a diet to carry the bottle inside their spacesuit and meet all the weight requirements. According to Chris Carberry, the Russian leadership knew about this, but turned a blind eye. And all because astronauts drink cognac only on rare occasions like holidays. It can also be used as an alternative sedative.

Cover of the book "Alcohol in Space"

There is a quote in the book in which one officialspoke rather approvingly about alcohol on the ISS. He allegedly said that some researchers have a hard time in orbit. If one of them drinks a few grams of cognac before going to bed, there is nothing wrong with that.

Interesting fact: there is no point in bringing beer to the ISS, because in zero gravity, gases are separated from the liquid and the taste is terrible.

This data was shared by the Supercluster edition, butthey contradict information that Russian cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev once told. According to him, if a bottle with a substance containing alcohol is opened on the ISS, the sensors will immediately notice it. Doing so can shut down the air purification system, because alcohol can damage them. So it is still dangerous to bring alcohol to the ISS. Once the astronauts wanted to send wine to prevent the consequences of radiation exposure, but this idea was abandoned due to the high risk of equipment breakdown.

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So what is the exact answer to the question of whether the ISS hasalcohol or not does not exist. Most likely, astronauts do often carry it with them, but officially this information is hidden. With all this, it is important to note that alcohol in large quantities is detrimental to the human body. The author of Daria Eletskaya wrote about this in 2019. She explained why people get drunk, what causes alcoholism and how many stages it has. It turned out to be a very informative article, so I recommend reading it right now.