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View Full Version : The Zero-Gravity Coffee Maker: Space Station Luxury or Necissity?



Fraser
2008-Oct-16, 09:50 PM
Costa Rican engineering students invent a coffee percolator for use in orbit Imagine: You've just woken up on board the space station half-way through your six-month mission in zero-gravity. You probably feel a little home sick and you crave a drink that will pick up your mood, preparing you for a tough day of overseeing experiments [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/10/16/the-zero-gravity-coffee-maker-space-station-luxury-or-necissity/)

tdvance
2008-Oct-17, 05:36 PM
to call coffee anything other than a necessity.... :) Food, Clothing, Shelter, and Coffee, the four basic needs.

eric_marsh
2008-Oct-17, 09:33 PM
Man, I could invent a coffee maker for orbit in about 30 seconds. Take a french press and put a one way valve over the screens, so that water will flow through the screens and then the check valve but not the other way. Insert coffee then hot water through an appropriate port. Let sit for a minute or so then press the screen down. The grounds are now separated from the coffee and are on the other side of the check valve. Now if you pull the plunger the other way the coffee will be forced out an outlet into the container of your choice. Simple. Hmmm, I guess I did just invent one.

If anyone doesn't get it I can make some drawings.

JustAFriend
2008-Oct-17, 09:38 PM
If you're going to plan for long-duration voyages and multi-generational colonies, you have to provide some of life's small luxuries.

Even the early sailors had their daily portion of rum....

KaiYeves
2008-Oct-17, 10:49 PM
Wow, Eric Marsh, you're smart!

Noclevername
2008-Oct-18, 01:55 AM
Ah, but when will they invent a zero-g hourglass? Now that would be impressive.

Seriously though, a lot of tech, both high and low, will eventually have to be adapted to space conditions. The more progress we make now in that field, the smoother the transition to real long-term settlements will be. So I for one welcome our new caffeine overlords.

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-18, 12:15 PM
Ah, but when will they invent a zero-g hourglass? Now that would be impressive.

Seriously though, a lot of tech, both high and low, will eventually have to be adapted to space conditions. The more progress we make now in that field, the smoother the transition to real long-term settlements will be. So I for one welcome our new caffeine overlords.
What do you mean, 'new'?

cjameshuff
2008-Oct-18, 04:54 PM
Ah, but when will they invent a zero-g hourglass? Now that would be impressive.

Simple. Just make a spring powered mechanism that spins it. Of course, you'll need to use a governor of some sort to do so at a constant, well-regulated rate, and to avoid releasing the spring's tension all at once...maybe a sort of escapement with another spring to smooth the rotary motion. Such mechanisms are already in widespread use in...well, clocks.

A zero-gravity French-press style coffee maker might need agitation of some sort. No convection, so it might otherwise take excessively long for the desired substances to diffuse through the water. It would also need to be designed such that it is easy to clean and use without consuming excessive water or allowing coffee grounds to be released into the surroundings. It's not an incredible achievement of engineering, but it's also not an idiotically trivial problem.

eric_marsh
2008-Oct-19, 12:01 AM
Wow, Eric Marsh, you're smart!

I'm just saying that it's not a particularly complex problem. Yes, there may be some issues as was pointed out such as how to agitate the brew or how to clean it but I doubt that it would be that tough to figure them out. For agitation, how about leaving a little dead air space in the french press and then shaking it? Naw, too low tech. It'd never work.

As for the zero-G hourglass, does it need to compensate for relativity?

ravens_cry
2008-Oct-19, 07:48 AM
Now all we need is the zero g teapot. If the British ever get into space, it will definitely be a necessity.
I have a few ideas for a design.