America has a hard time getting politicians to agree on essentially anything, and we have more problems in this country than we know how to solve, but boy, have we as a country figured out how to be good at express deliveries.
A SpaceX Dragon capsule returned to Earth this week from the International Space Station. On board this cargo carrier were a dozen bottles of French Bordeaux and 320 grapevines.
In case you’re wondering if astronauts were doing some government funded project on how many glasses of expensive wine it takes to get drunk in zero gravity, relax, the vino wasn’t for human consumption in space, and the operators of the spacecraft weren’t drinking and flying.
They were part of an experiment that started in November of 2019, when SpaceX launched the bottles into space for an experiment by the start-up Space Cargo Unlimited. The wine and vines spent about a year orbiting Earth on the Space Station while they aged.
The next step is figuring out what was learned. In February, researchers are going to open the bottles at a wine-tasting in Bordeaux, where some of France’s most distinguished connoisseurs and sommeliers will be on hand to do a very exciting and one-of-a-kind taste test.
Than, the less sexy part, the wine will undergo months of chemical testing. The mystery researchers hope to unlock is how being in orbit affects the sedimentation and bubbles of the aging process.
Scientists are hoping that by understanding how grapes respond to weightlessness, scientists could help develop technology to grow more resilient plants on earth.
If any one of those 12 bottles returned to Earth opened, some astronauts will have some explaining to do.