So, Uh, Astronauts Routinely Smuggle Booze Into Space
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’re an astronaut, with a ticket to the International Space Station, where you’ll be hanging out for months, if not nearly an entire year. While you’re now part of an incredibly elite group of people ever to travel into space, you’re also not immune to enjoying (like most of the rest of human civilization since time immemorial) a good drink. Would you try to smuggle some booze aboard the ISS? Of course you would.
“NASA will tell you there is no alcohol aboard the ISS,” NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson told [2019’s “Alcohol in Space” author Chris Carberry]. “As a person who lived there for five months, I’ll tell you that’s bogus.”
Yep: Someone wrote and published an entire tome about getting wasted in space last year, the book everyone didn’t know they needed. In “Alcohol in Space,” Carberry further found that the Russian space program turns a blind eye to this kind of thing, and that the cosmonauts generally prefer brandy over vodka. Also, they’re good at getting it aboard:
They’ve smuggled bottles of cognac in hollowed-out books, filled up plastic meal containers with booze and mislabeled them as juice, and even gone on strict diets before launch so they could smuggle bottles in their spacesuits and still make weight requirements.
While tippling it in space might seem innocuous, it turns out there’s good reason to look into it. For one thing, learning about the way booze behaves, at a chemical level, in a zero-g environment informs the scientific development of it down here (and there have been several cargo payloads containing alcohol used for experiments that’ve already made it into orbit).
For another, as space travel develops, the fact remains: on Mars, the Moon, or just a trip around the bright blue rock, people will want a nip. There’s something comforting in that, you know? No matter how deep into the furthest reaches of our galaxy, or into the universe beyond it, humans will want to get ‘faced. And if, one day, we’re relegated to a small paragraph of a history tome of some alien civilization, in a chapter about the ancient others decimated so theirs could stand, it’s hard to imagine anything as sure as something along the lines of “they always proved themselves nothing if not adept at finding a way to get drunk.” We will. We always do.