Like it or not, humanity won’t be able to live on Earth forever. If we don’t wipe out our own species by the time we figure out where to go, we’ll eventually have to shove off of the planet and head elsewhere. When that happens, we’re going to need a lot of things, and one of those things is beer. Budweiser is totally fine with that, and they’re working hard at figuring out how to brew beer in space.

Next month, Budweiser will be sending one of the primary ingredients in beer, barley, into space aboard a cargo supply mission that will head skyward on December 4th. It will remain at the International Space Station for a month before coming back to Earth to be analyzed by Budweiser’s team of scientists. It’s a small step with a big final goal: to make Budweiser the first beer on Mars.

“Budweiser is always pushing the boundaries of innovation and we are inspired by the collective American Dream to get to Mars,” Ricardo Marques, Budweiser VP said in a statement. “We are excited to begin our research to brew beer for the red planet.”

A total of 20 barley seedlings are slated to be sent into space, and will be housed in special “CubeLab” containers for the duration of their stay in orbit. The experiment hopes to shine some light on how zero gravity affects the growth of the plant and what potential pitfalls might be encountered if one would attempt to brew beer during a long-haul mission.

At present, only tentative plans are in place for a manned Mars mission, and they’re still more than a decade away at the very earliest. It’s safe to say that ensuring astronauts can crack open a cold one isn’t exactly on the top of NASA’s priority list, but if an actual Mars colony is established at some point in the distant future, they’re probably going to want something to look forward to on Saturday nights.

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