International Void The station put out an offer Tuesday to buy 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine and hundreds of grape scraps that spent a year circling the world in the name of science.
Wine and vines – and thousands of pounds of other equipment and research, including mice – will be sprinkled on board A. SpaceX Dragon capsule Wednesday night in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa.
Bottles of French wine – each housed inside a steel cylinder to prevent breakage – remained cork-covered on board the spinning mill.
None of the bottles will open until the end of February. That’s when Space Cargo Unlimited, the company behind the trials, opens a bottle or two to sample some of France’s best experts in Bordeaux. Months of chemical tests will follow. Researchers are keen to see how space has changed sedimentation and bubbles.
Nicholas Gaum, CEO and co-founder of the company, said agricultural science was the primary goal, although he admits it would be fun to sample wine.
“Our goal is to address the solution to how to have an organic, healthy tomorrow’s agriculture capable of feeding humanity,” said Gome from Bordeaux, “and we believe space has the key.”
With climate change, Gaume said agricultural products like grapes will need to adapt to harsh conditions. Through a series of space experiments, Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to take lessons learned from stressing plants into weightlessness and translate them into more robust and resilient plants on Earth.
There is another benefit. Gaume expects future explorers to the moon and Mars will want to enjoy some of Earth’s pleasures. “Being French, having some good food and good wine is part of life,” he told the Associated Press.
Gaume said private investors helped fund the trials. He declined to mention the cost of the project.
The wine arrived at the space station in November 2019 on a Northrop Grumman supply ship. SpaceX launched 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards called canes in the grape industry last March.