Introducing... SPACE ESPRESSO!

by Eliza Castile

They say necessity is the mother of invention. By that logic, it's no surprise that the International Space Station has invented an espresso machine, because as every caffeine addict knows, coffee is an absolute must no matter where on Earth, or in space, you may be. In fact, the only surprise here is that they didn't come up with a space espresso machine sooner. Nobody should be subject to instant coffee, no matter how "excellent" NASA food supply manager Vickie Kloeris claims it to be. Sure, Kloeris told NPR that it's "extremely popular," but when the alternative is a bunch of undercaffeinated astronauts floating around the International Space Station (ISS), crankily doing whatever it is that they do up there (deflecting alien invaders and laughing at the inaccuracies of Gravity ?), I think we all know which option they'll go with.In fact, Kloeris herself agrees that the instant stuff has nothing on actual espresso. "Can it compete with brewed espresso? No," she told NPR. Luckily for the astronauts currently inhabiting the ISS, Italy's love for java is stronger than a cup of Turkish coffee. According to NPR, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano said that the only Earth-bound food he really missed was espresso. Now there's a man who has his priorities straight.

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Parmitano may not be aboard the ISS anymore, but current Italian astronaut-in-residence Samantha Cristoforetti has a welcome surprise coming with the next shipment of supplies. Italian aerospace company Argotec, along with coffee company Lavazza, has developed the ISSpresso, an experimental machine the size of a microwave that will provide sweet, sweet espresso to the astronauts on the ISS. Nobody really knows how the machine will behave in space yet, thanks to the lack of gravity, but the company took plenty of precautions to make sure the steam and hot coffee won't end up floating around the cabin instead of inside the pouch to be used for drinking.Kloeris, however, says that it's not time to begin celebrating just yet, because there are still logistical obstacles. For one thing, the machine only comes with 20-30 coffee capsules at a time, and each of those has to be packaged separately. "There's a lot of trash and a lot of volume involved...," she told NPR. "If it's successful, we'll have to figure out how we're going to resupply it."

Really makes you grateful for your office Keurig, doesn't it?

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Images: thealexmoreira/snarkyfancat/Tumblr