SpaceX is sending barley seeds to the International Space Station this week as part of a research project backed by Budweiser to study the possibility of brewing beer on Mars.

Anheuser-Busch, the company behind the "great American lager beer", will send barley samples to the orbiting laboratory aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday (12 December) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Earlier this year, Budweiser announced its ambitious plan to brew the "first beer on Mars" at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

"While socializing on Mars might be in the near-distant future, Budweiser is taking steps now to better understand how its ingredients react in microgravity environments so that when we get to Mars, Budweiser will be there," the company said.

Budweiser has partnered with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the space station's US research lab, and payload development firm Space Tango to lift two barley experiments in SpaceX's cargo supply mission.

Research onboard the space station will study how the barley seeds react in a unique microgravity environment.

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