This is a very modest first step forward in advancing the cause of drinking in space, which up to this point only Russians have been allowed to do, and that only because Russians will not go anywhere they are not allowed to drink. As more and more humans populate space, however, inevitably some of them will turn out to be alcoholics of the first order and these people won't want to be spinning around in the ionosphere sober. Indeed, life in space, with cosmic rays zapping you frequently enough that you are constantly reminded that the universe is really just one truly gigantic microwave oven, and meteorites and leftover bolts from your slob neighbor's space station whizzing around looking to pop a hole in your living room and let all the air out without prior notice at any time, might lead any space guy or gal to regard alcohol as a necessity.
Efforts so far to explore the universe drunk have been distinctly underwhelming. The first zero-gravity bender has yet to be attempted, along with the accompanying first zero-g hangover. When a person gets blacked-out drunk in the blackness of space, can anybody hear them giggle pointlessly? When an individual has over-imbibed so much that he or she gets the "whirlies," will whirling around the Earth exacerbate the condition?
These are questions that need to be answered before some pioneering distillery changes its slogan from "Made in Tennessee for 120 Years" to "Made While Orbiting over Tennessee 120 Times a Week." I see no lack of volunteers. Many of us will fail the physical, having been drunk too many times on Earth to subject our tender livers to life in the celestial sphere, but it is certain that there are enough sturdy young boozehounds in this great thirsty nation of ours willing to be lofted into orbit for the first zero-g Happy Hour in order to start settling some of these scientific dilemmas.
Inevitably, among those will be a pioneering couple who will meet at some hundred-mile high watering hole and get so drunk that they wake up naked the next day in a weightless embrace, barely able to remember each other's names. He'll lie about the quality of his performance to all his friends at work on Monday, while she will be left to do the first Spacewalk of Shame back to her own capsule in the morning.
To them we say "Bottoms up!"
It saddens us to report that the Ardberg experiment did not even rate a mention in the recently announced 2015 Ig Noble Awards. The big winner there was a guy who let a bee sting him on his penis in order to determine whether that was extraordinarily painful.
It was, but that was hardly unexpected. In fact, penile bee stings were probably what set early man to wishing somebody would invent trousers. But we congratulate this brave researcher anyway who, in the tradition of the Igs, was awarded a cash prize of a 10 trillion dollar Zimbabwean bill, which is worth about three bucks US.
Hope he spends it on beer.