‘Space-aged’ Wine? How a microgravity environment could improve research and manufacturing

By:  |  Category: Blog Monday, November 4th, 2019  |  No Comments
space wine

Mmmmm… Space Aged. Not something you’d hear the typical wine taster say, yet.

A French startup called Space Cargo Unlimited, just sent 12 bottles of wine up to the International Space Station (ISS) in a resupply rocket. This wine however, is not meant for astronaut consumption. Why then would perfectly good bottles of vino be propelled into space?

In the name of science, of course.

The mission “Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia,” is Latin for (roughly) “Wine Grape in Space Experiment,” and is meant to observe what effects microgravity, and space radiation, will have on wine’s aging process. We’re imagining hints of stardust, should be a good year.

The bottles will spend one year, sealed in their glass environments, and kept at a temperature of around 64 degrees Fahrenheit while the aging process takes place. 12 bottles will also be kept here on earth, in a similar environment, and both cases will be compared when the ISS cargo returns from orbit. Researchers believe there “will be taste differences that result from the effect that microgravity and space-based radiation will have on physical and chemical reactions.”

These aged stellar wines will not be set up for tasting when they return. Instead Space Cargo Unlimited explains their work is more “following in the footsteps of Louis Pasteur,” the developer of pasteurization through wine fermentation experiments. Either way, we’re excited for the results of the ISS out-of-this-world wine and its possible applications.

Space Cargo Unlimited forges projects intended to shape the future of research and industry, using microgravity science in Low Earth Orbit. Teaming up with its biotech subsidiary, Space Biology Unlimited, the two companies are able to study what happens to biomaterials in a near zero-gravity environment, hence the bottles of aging wine! 

If only we could experience drinking this wine in zero gravity ourselves, little bubbles of chardonnay or merlot floating past our pencils. The experience would be en-light-ening, literally.  

Space Cargo Unlimited’s investigations have demonstrated that introduction to “the space environment and radiation, in combination with other abiotic and biotic stressors … will include changes in gene expression, mutation, hyper-induction of transcription, epigenetic regulation of gene activity, inhibition or acceleration of RNA decay…”

“It is the combination of these responses that will change the global systemic organization of plants and enhance their recovery abilities back on Earth. This will be explored actively, from 2019 to 2022 throughout the WISE mission.”

We know it’s been a long-term, love-hate relationship with the idea humans might one day live in space, but this may be the startup that helps us get there or helps us to improve life on our planet.  

–Emmy Seigler



Image Source: https://www.canva.com/design/DADqRx7V4XM/9Gv6W-eY54NwdO0RasORMg/edit?category=tACFajEYUAM#

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