The Space Glass, made from whiskey company Ballantine’s, was designed with whiskey in mind. It is not actually made of glass, but rather it is 3D-printed with medical grade plastic into a tumbler shape. The key technology is inside the glass, where small channels in the side move liquid from the convex stainless steel base coated in rose gold, which the liquid sticks to, around to a mouthpiece. This is made of gold, as it is non-reactive, and is where the astronaut drinks from.
“We are using inertia and the notion that the whisky will stay at rest while the bottle and the glass is moved around the resting liquid,” said Parr in a statement on Medium.
To deal with the microgravity conditions of spaceflight, the Space Glass has a magnet at its base, allowing it to attach to whiskey bottles customised with their own magnets and a thin “straw” to deliver whiskey into the glass. Once inside, in microgravity, the whiskey wouldn't bounce around in a blob, but stick at the bottom and deliver liquid into the channels.
The Space Glass recently underwent tests at the ZARM Drop Tower in Bremen, Germany, which can simulate microgravity conditions for a short period of time by dropping items. Of course, while it’s a bit of a publicity stunt, the design could be useful in the future of spaceflight. It allows astronauts to drink from an actual glass, rather than relying on bags of liquid at the moment.
“Not only is the glass innovative – solving fundamental scientific questions of how liquid moves in zero gravity – but it is also beautifully designed, with the ritual of the whisky drinking experience at its heart,” said Peter Moore, brand director of Ballantine’s, in the statement.