Carbonated beverages in space.

I recently visited Kennedy Space Center. I participated in “Lunch with an Astronaut.” His topic of discussion that day was food in space. He mentioned that on one shuttle mission (not the one he was on) that Coke and Pepsi sent their beverages on board. He showed a clip of a blob of the beverage floating and the astronaut snatching it with his mouth.

I began to wonder if the beverage was carbonated. Would it be possible to carbonate a beverage in a weightless environment? I can see how they might be able to carbonate it in a packet and drink it that way but would the beverage be able to hold the carbonation outside of a packet?

I actually got a chance to ask the astronaut this question and he said he didn’t know the answer. He said it was done on only one mission, not his, and that it was an interesting question.

Can any Dopers weigh in on this? (I guess there is a pun there.)

You could certainly take a carbonated beverage in a can or bottle into space and I doubt it would behave any differently (other than the small air bubble would not be at the top necessarily. And I suspect the Mentos experiment would work about the same as the opening at the top really has nothing to do with gravity, it’s just pressure.

If you opened a bottom or can of carbonated beverage, I don’t know how quickly it would go flat. The carbon dioxide gas molecules would not “know” which way was up so they might just drift around inside the liquid. Eventually they’d come to one surface or another.

According to NASA

So it won’t go flat, instead it will be too carbonated.

Several years ago there was a highly-publicized event where not just one but TWO competing designs for carbonated beverage containers were sent into space and tested on, I believe, the shuttle.

Here are pictures:

Here’s the story:

More info:

Results were mixed, eh. I wonder if the trick is that you need to add a fraction of the CO2 for this to work so it doesn’t turn into a foamy mess.

I am a little puzzled by the wording of the OP.

Are you asking if it’s possible to take an uncarbonated liquid into orbit and cause it to become carbonated there? That is, to inject carbon dioxide into the liquid and produce a carbonated liquid, like is done in bottling plants on earth? Somehow, despite the seemingly clear wording, I don’t think that’s what you meant.

I’m sure this would yield a buttload of product, and while it apparently would be predigested I’m not sure how it would come out in the end. Of course up there in space it would be affected by the moon.


I wonder if it would be possible to take containers of non-carbonated water and small CO2 cylinders separately into space, then add the carbonation to the water, like in a SodaStream?

Even after swallowing? So in weightlessness, the carbonation remains until each bubble eventually works its way out of the fluid?

Well, I didn’t know if it was already carbonated or they would take the flavored liquid and carbonate it on the spot. Seems that the digestion problem would be foreseen so I also wondered if they were just providing the flavored liquid un-carbonated.

Well done.

yes, why not. In fact it works better as the water will have greater surface area exposed to the CO2 and so dissolve in quicker.
But it works at least as well… the dissolving in is not related to gravity.

What happened in the OP’s video was that the liquid content of the can was floating around up to the hole in the can … and so with the pressure difference between inside can and outside, the CO2 constantly evolving out of the liquid and taking up more volume… , the liquid content was pumped out by the CO2…

So the video shows the astronaut going after the escaped fluid.

You could keep fizzy drinks in a plastic bag if its really strong, and then it will squirt out under high pressure… I suppose you could put a tap system on it so you can control it.

Why on earth (see what I did there) would they even want to? Only thing I can think of is that there was a shed load of sponsorship money up for grabs.

Peristalsis must be more important than ever. Must be lousy and weird not to feel things in your lower gut where they’re supposed to be.