Lunar Dream Messenger project to land first sports drink on the Moon in 2015
By David Szondy
May 16, 2014
Lunar exploration may be an exciting adventure in the conquest of space, but what if you get thirsty? Pocari Sweat is a Japanese sports drink that’s popular in Asia and the Middle East, and as part of its marketing strategy it plans to deliver a can of its product to the lunar surface next year. Designed and constructed by a partnership of companies led by Astroscale Pte. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the special can will be delivered to the lunar surface in October, 2015 as part of the payload of the Astrobiotic Technology’s Griffin lander, which is scheduled to touch down in Lacus Mortis region of the Moon.
In fact, the Pocari Sweat Lunar Dream Messenger can isn't really a drink can. It just looks like one. In reality, it’s a specially designed time capsule. Instead of stamped and spun aluminum, the outer casing was turned on a precision lathe by Yuki Precision co. and is sealed with a screw-on lid. This is opened by a titanium ring inserted in a slot on top of the can, which acts as a handle for twisting the top off.
Though this is basically an advertising stunt, the Lunar Dream Messenger can still required some advanced engineering. Because it’s being carried on a spacecraft, it had to undergo outgassing tests to make sure that neither the can or its contents would boil away in the vacuum of space and interfere with the landing craft. It also had to be tested against extreme temperatures and liftoff vibrations.
The can is colored blue, which the production team says is quite challenging since space isn't too friendly toward pigments. The aluminum outer casing had to be specially treated so the blue would be anodized directly into the metal surface.
Inside the canister is a removable stainless steel inner structure holding a stack of titanium discs. The discs have “dreams,” submitted by children all over Asia, laser-etched onto them. Below these is a sealed metal container holding a powdered version of Pocari Sweat. According to the company, the hope is that the time capsule will be opened in in 30 years and the powder will be reconstituted, using water mined from the Moon.
The video below outlines how the time capsule was designed and constructed.
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