A surprising number of twelve bottles of Bordeaux wine have been shipped to the International Space Station to help researchers better analyze the effect of space-like extreme conditions on the ageing process of the alcoholic beverage.
When and where
The launch of the unusual payload took place in Virginia on 2 November via a Northrop Grumman rocket. The wine bottles shared their ride with about 3.700 kilograms of other research materials and supply cargo, including a zero-gravity baking oven.
The mission is part of a larger project conducted by several universities, including the University of Bordeaux’s ISVV wine institute. The launch was powered by a start-up company known as “Space Cargo Unlimited”
Storage of the bottles
The wine bottles will be stored at about 18 degrees Celsius in a so called “Complex Microbiological System” (or CommuBioS) for about a year and then they will be sent back to our planet to get analyzed furthermore and be compared to a control batch which was kept at the same temperature, according to NASA.
Curiously, this is not the first time when wine bottles are sent far away from the winery: A wine bottle was sent to space back in 1975 and returned back home after 30 years.
Purpose of the study
Researchers hope that the experiment will provide vital data that will improve long-term storage of drinks and even food in harsh environments.
However, the study might provide insight towards improving and adapting agricultural techniques according to climate change.
It’s notable that Space Cargo Unlimited aims to continue space research missions on the subjects of food and agriculture.