Who says Indian MPs only care about vote banks? Their interests range from the mundane to the Moon, and a 76-year-old member from West Bengal has given a brilliant example of the latter.
In a question listed for a written answer on March 15, Sisir Kumar Adhikari asked a question titled ‘Brew Beer on Moon’.
He asked the Minister of Space - who just happens to also be the Prime Minister of India - whether ‘an Indian Spacecraft is planning to brew beer on the moon’.
The reply was given by Minister of State in the PM’s Office, Dr Jitendra Singh, who wrote, “There is no plan to brew beer on the moon by any spacecraft to be made by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).”
As Dr Jitendra Singh wrote, “Team Indus, a privately funded team under the Axiom Research Labs Pvt. Ltd., is competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition towards building a spacecraft capable of soft landing and roving on the Moon. The spacecraft is proposed to be launched onboard ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) under a commercial launch agreement. As understood from media reports that, Team Indus is proposing an experiment to brew beer on the Moon using yeast.”
“As understood, the aim of this experiment is to test and observe the survivability of yeast in space and how it performs under Moon’s gravity conditions. The experiment plans to brew a small batch of beer in space,” he added.
While this was the written response provided by the government, apparently, they've got it wrong. In a statement to TNM, TeamIndus clarified that while a US based team had submitted a proposal for a 'yeast based experiment', they were not part of the team flying to the Moon on the Team Indus spacecraft.
“TeamIndus, the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar XPrize instituted Lab2Moon, a global competition for students under the age of 25 to imagine, design and build and experiment that will accelerate humanity’s transition to a multi planetary species," the statement read.
"Team Space4Life, which proposed an experiment to test the effectiveness of using a colony of Cyanobacteria as a shield against harmful radiation in space and India based Team ZΩI, which proposed an experiment to explore photosynthesis in space, have been shortlisted to fly aboard the TeamIndus Spacecraft. Six other teams and their experiments that have qualified include Team Callisto (India) - Lunar Dust Accumulation Analyser, TeamEARS (India) - Electrostatics Active Radiation Shield Experiment, Team Kalpana (India) - Instrument for Lunar Dust Analysis, Team Killa Lab (Peru) - an experiment Testing Microbial Growth And Decomposition, Team Lunadome (UK) - an Inflatable Dome experiment, Team Regolith Revolution (USA) - looking at the Effect on Plant Growth in Moon Regolith," the statement explained.
"US based Team Original Gravity which had proposed a yeast based experiment, is not in the final shortlist of teams that has qualified to fly on the TeamIndus spacecraft," TeamIndus clarified.
Will the MP ask the Space Ministry to clarify to the MP please? No Moon beer for now, Mr Adhikari. May be next time.