The Space X Dragon cargo spacecraft was decoupled from the International Space Station (ISS) and returned to Earth on Tuesday (12) with a highly sophisticated cargo on board: 12 bottles of red wine and 320 vines.
The cargo with the “drink of the gods” and vine canes are part of an agricultural research program called Mission WISE (Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia), administered by the European start-up Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU), based in Luxembourg, which sent the wine to be aged in space for twelve months.
In a press release, SCU clarified that the objective of the experiment is to investigate how space radiation and the microgravity environment affect wine components during the aging process. The canes, from merlot and cabernet sauvignon vines, arriving from space will be compared with similar specimens kept on Earth.
Future research by SCU
The experience with bottles and vines is just the beginning for Mission WISE. The program will deepen the research on key elements such as yeast, bacteria, crystals, colloids and polyphenols, to ascertain how the taste and chemical composition of wine are affected during the aging process.
The investigation involves investigating how plants adapt to the stress of space conditions in combination with stressors present on the ISS, such as temperature, salt or pathogens. The combination of these effects is expected to force organisms to evolve naturally and develop beyond their initial natural capabilities.
SCU announced in a tweet that it intends to carry out a private tasting of orbital wines in January, when it intends to reveal the official name of the drink.