Scientists have designed gravity-proof espresso cups for the International Space Station

If there’s one place you don’t want to be struggling through the day in a caffeine-deprived haze, it’s space. Now astronauts at the International Space Station (and soon, singer/Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ex Sarah Brightman, weirdly enough) won’t have to miss out on the brainpower-restoring impact of real coffee thanks to a new espresso cup made at Portland State University.

According to PSFK, scientists designed the 3D-printed cup to withstand zero gravity (technically called microgravity), which would otherwise stop the crema (foam) from rising to the top and prevent the drink from pouring smoothly. A small contour that channels liquid where it needs to go stops coffee from clumping up and allows it to flow like it normally would on earth.

The research team, which expanded to include members of NASA and local school pupils, tested their prototype at the Dryden Drop Tower at the university. This facility simulates microgravity for up to 2.1 seconds so scientists can see how their designs might work (or not) in real conditions. And this time round, it was a huge success: the team has filed a patent and will be sending six of their cups on the SpaceX rocket’s supply run to the ISS in February.

Image via Pixabay.

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Diane Shipley