If you were waiting to go to the International Space Station until they had good coffee, well, NOW you can go. Like any good Italian, Samantha Cristoforetti is fond of her morning cuppa. In particular, she’s partial to her morning espresso. But when you work on the space station, that can be a little hard to come by, until now. Cristoforetti isn’t just an astronaut and the first Italian woman to orbit the Earth, she’s also the first space barista. But making the the shot of espresso was no mere lark. It was actually a study in specialized physics. Until now, physicists were unsure just how a highly pressurized and piping hot liquid would react in the near weightless environment of the International Space Station. A specialized espresso maker, called the ISSpresso was designed by Argotec, an engineering and software firm in Turin as well as the Italian coffee producer Lavazza. Making a proper espresso—a singular alchemy of high temperature, water pressure and perfectly tamped coffee—is difficult enough to master on earth. Microgravity conditions made the task still more complicated, and Argotec took two years to work out how to do it… but the force of coffee was strong with this one.
Images via NASA