The International Space Station will be the first wine cellar in space after a dozen bottles of soon to be space-aged Bordeaux were launched into orbit.
The 12 bottles of Grand Cru, packed in protective metal containers, docked at the International Space Station after being rocketed into space by NASA.
The wine will be aged in space for a year before splashing back down to Earth for tests. Researchers will compare the outer space case with another 12 bottles from the same batch that remained on the planet.
Two Luxembourg based start-ups, Thales Alenia Space and Space Cargo Unlimited, will carry out research on the wine with European universities. The name of the producers of the wine is a closely guarded secret to prevent accusations that the experiment is a marketing ploy.
Scientists will study the effects of space radiation and zero gravity on the aging process. It is hoped the results of "Mission Wise" can be used to improve food conservation methods and improve taste, particularly in the face of the challenge of climate change.
Nicolas Gaume, chief executive and co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited, said: “This is a once in a lifetime adventure.”
Wine is ideal for the study because it contains yeast and bacteria and is made through chemical processes. Researchers pointed out that Louis Pasteur developed pasteurisation through experiments in wine fermentation.
The space wine and the Earth wine will be kept corked at a temperature of about 18 degrees celsius. Researchers expect the space-based radiation and microgravity to influence the chemical reactions in the bottles and the taste of the wine.
Click Here: cheap dragons jersey
Any leftover wine from the research has been promised to investors in the project, which raises the slight possibility of a future industry in space-aged wines.
The 12 bottles were launched by a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket on a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on Saturday. They are now safely aboard the ISS, which will spend the next 12 months as an orbiting wine cellar.
Also on board is an oven for baking chocolate chip cookies and carbon fibre samples used by Lamborghini in its super cars in a sign of NASA’s increased willingness to open up the ISS to commercial ventures.
Space Cargo Unlimited is planning a further five missions to space in the next three years to research the future of agriculture. In October, the first piece of beef was grown in space, aboard the ISS.
The deep space wine is not the first bottle of plonk to go into orbit. In 1985, a French astronaut took a bottle aboard the space shuttle Discovery but did not uncork it.