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  • Gaurav Khemka

Fizztronauts: Space's New Drink

While you might picture astronauts gulping down futuristic protein shakes, a surprising beverage choice is quietly keeping them hydrated: sparkling water. But hold on, isn't soda a no-go in space? Here's the surprising truth about the role of fizz in astronaut life. 

Space travel comes with unique challenges, one of which is water. Supplying fresh water for astronauts on long missions is expensive and impractical. Enter: water recycling systems on the International Space Station (ISS). These systems purify wastewater from various sources, including hygiene and humidity control. While effective, the recycled water can sometimes develop a slight off-taste or odour. 

This is where the magic of carbonation comes in. The process of infusing water with CO2 gas not only adds a refreshing fizz, but it also helps remove those unwanted flavours and odours. The bubbles act like tiny scrubbing agents, binding with and carrying away volatile compounds that contribute to the off-taste. The result? Sparkling water that's not just refreshing, but also cleaner-tasting for astronauts. 

The benefits of sparkling water extend beyond taste. Studies suggest microgravity can affect how the body absorbs fluids. The carbonation in sparkling water might enhance this absorption, aiding astronaut hydration in the low-gravity environment. Additionally, the ISS is constantly conducting experiments, and some involve the behaviour of fluids in microgravity. Sparkling water, with its ever-present bubbles, becomes a useful research tool for these scientific endeavours. 

While astronauts can't exactly crack open a can of soda, sparkling water offers a satisfying and practical solution for hydration in space. As space exploration continues, expect further research into the role of carbonation in astronaut health and the development of even more efficient water recycling systems.  So, the next time you raise a glass of bubbly water, remember, you might be sharing a sip with the brave explorers orbiting Earth!

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