French wine returns to Earth after a year in space
13 Janvier, 2021, 23:46 | Auteur: Therese Cote
That is when some of France's best connoisseurs and specialists can drink a bottle or two for an out-of-this-world wine tasting event in Bordeaux.
The wine and vine material stored on the spacecraft left the International Space Station on 12 January and is expected to splash down west of Tampa off the Florida coast at about 8:27pm local time.
The wine, as well as hundreds of snippets of grapevines, spent a year orbiting the planet were launched by Luxembourg start-up Space Cargo Unlimited.
Until at least next month, when one or two will be released for a sampling in Bordeaux, the bottled wine will stay sealed.
The 12 bottles were corked and carefully packaged in steel cylinders to avoid breakage. Researchers and wine experts are very interested in seeing how the elements, temperature, and environment in space has changed the wine's sedimentation and bubbles. Months of chemical testing will follow.
As noted by Nicolas Gaume, the company's CEO and co-founder through NY Post, the main objective of the space wine experiment is to have innovations in agricultural science, although he admits that being able to taste a few sips from space-aged wine indeed makes him lucky.
"And we think space was the key", he said.
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Due to climate change, Gaume said agricultural products like grapes will need to adapt to harsher conditions.
As a Frenchman, he explained that good food and good wine are a part of life.
The wine hitched a ride to the space station in November 2019 aboard a Northrop Grumman supply ship.
So far, only SpaceX is the shipper that is capable of returning items from space back to Earth fully intact. Through a series of space experiments, Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to learn by stressing the plants in space and use that knowledge to create more robust and resilient plants on earth.
Other cargo modules tend to be affected by pollution and end burned-up when reentering the Earth's atmosphere.
There's another benefit. Gaume expects future explorers to the moon and Mars will want to enjoy some of Earth's pleasures.
The Demo-2 mission was the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Program.
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After the tasting, the wines, as well as vines that were also on board the ISS, will go through a series of chemical tests. As SpaceX has delivered the well-aged wines back to Earth , they will still have to settle down for nearly a month.
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