Well, not beer exactly. But they did find alcohol: ethyl alcohol, to be precise, the active ingredient in all major alcoholic drinks and beer, America’s favorite adult beverage. Three British scientists, discovered this interstellar Everclear floating in a gaseous stellar cloud in the constellation of Aquila (sign of the Eagle, the mascot of Anheuser-Busch! Hmmmmm).
The scientists have estimated the size of this gas cloud at approximately 1,000 times the diameter of our own solar system; there’s enough alcohol out there, they say, to make 400 trillion trillion pints of beer. These scientific types are British, mind you; and, if you were to translate this in terms of American beer (which the British regard as fermented club soda), the amount of potential brewski just about doubles.
In frat boy terms: remember that double-keg party you threw at the end of your Junior year in college (the second Junior year)? Imagine throwing that same party, every eight hours, for the next 30 billion years.You’d STILL have beer left over. And boy, would your bathroom be a mess! Simply put, no one could ever drink 400 trillion trillion pints of beer, except maybe Chicago Cubs fans.
The sheer volume of all this alcohol begs the question of how it managed to get out there in the first place. Despite the simplifying effect it has on the human brain, ethyl alcohol is a reasonably complex molecule: two carbon atoms, five hydrogen atoms, and a hydroxyl radical, all cavorting together in beery camaraderie.
What Is This Cloud?
Theory 1: It’s God’s beer. After all, He worked for six days creating the universe, and on the seventh day, He rested. And after you’ve had a hard week at the office, don’t YOU grab a beer? Since man is made in God’s image, it could be that this cloud is the remaining evidence of the first ever “Happy Hour”.
Theory 2: It’s Purgatory (“400 trillion trillion bottles of beer on the wall, 400 trillion trillion bottles of beer! Take one down, pass it around, three hundred ninety-nine septillion, nine hundred ninety-nine sextillion,nine hundred ninety-nine quintillion, nine hundred ninety-nine quadrillion, nine hundred ninety-nine trillion, nine hundred ninety-nine billion, nine hundred ninety-nine million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine, bottles of beer on the wall!”)
Theory 3: Proof of an undeniably highly advanced but chronically dipsomaniac alien society. This particular theory is shaky, however: it’s reasonable to assume that if the aliens were going to construct a nebula of alcohol,they’d also have large clouds of beer nuts and pretzels nearby for snacking. Advanced spectral analysis has yet to locate them, but we’ll find those rascals!
The truth of the matter, however, is far more prosaic. In the middle of this gas cloud is a young and no doubt quite inebriated star (a celebrity maybe?). As the star heats up and contracts, sucking the dust and gas of the cloud into a smaller area, complex molecules form as a result of greater interaction between the elements. Ethyl alcohol forms on small particles of dust in the cloud, and then, as the particles angle in closer towards the star and heat up, the alcohol is released from these particles in a very gaseous form. And there you have it: an alcohol cloud!
Enough with the science lesson, you say. Just tell me how to get there! Sorry, dude.You can’t get there from here. The gas cloud is 10,000 light years away: 58 quadrillion miles. Even if you hijacked the shuttle and headed out with thrusters on full, by the time you got there, the guy in Purgatory would be done with his tune. You’d have had time to work up a powerful thirst, but you’d also be, in a word, dead.
The Future Of Beer In Space
No, the Space Beer Cloud will have to wait for the far future, when men can leap through the universe at warp speed. One can only imagine what they will do when they get there:
Captain Kirk: Oh,my….God! Sulu! What….is….that? What could….it be?
Sulu: Sensors indicate it’s a free floating cloud of ice cold beer, Captain.
Captain Kirk: Very cool Sulu! I just drank our last Romulan Ale! Could it be a trap, Bones?
Bones: Damn it, Jim! I’m a doctor, not a distiller of fine spirits!
Captain Kirk: We need that beer! But….if we fly through that cloud, we’ll be….too drunk….to drive!
Spock: May I remind you, captain, that I am Vulcan. We are an advanced race of designated drivers.
Captain Kirk: Well, all righty, then. Spock, drive us … on through! Scotty, deploy the beer bongs!
Scotty: Aye, cap’n. Way ahead of you on that one bro … uh, sir.