11-year-old wins approval to brew beer in space

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HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- An 11-year-old boy wants to boldly go where no child has gone before - he's brewing a beer that can be used in space.

But Michael Bodzianowski said the experiment has nothing to do with getting astronauts drunk, he just wanted a good grade in class.

Bodzianowski attends the STEM School in Highland Ranch, Colo., a facility that focuses on science and math.

"I really didn't expect this from the start, I just designed this experiment to get a good grade in my class," Bodzianowski  said.

But his idea may earn him more than a good grade.

Following a recipe usually meant for adults, Bodzianowski is turning beer-making into a historical achievement.

His school experiment, to see how the fermentation process works in micro-gravity, is grabbing the attention of NASA.  He recently won a competition through the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education for approval to make the beer, which will be used in space.

In December, Bodzianowski's idea will soar from the classroom to the International Space Station, where astronauts will find out how well the beer ferments in space. Bodzianowski hopes the beer will help in case of a medical emergency.

"Beer, while known to most people as a party drink, actually has some medical properties," Bodzianowski  said. "You can clean wounds like that, it could be a reliable amount of water that won't contaminate you."

For teachers like Sharon Combs, seeing a student's imagination come alive is what it's all about.

"Just the whole idea I've got an 11-year-old putting beer together in my classroom -- that was pretty special," Combs said.

Now it's up to NASA to get the test-tubes into space.

As for Michael, he's convinced this is the best experiment he's ever done.

"It's going to be the greatest moment of my life ... so far."