SpaceX returns to Earth vines and bottles aged one year on the International Space Station

As we have already told you, this Tuesday the Dragon cargo capsule from Spacex it successfully undocked from the International Space Station -EEI- and set course for Earth, landing early Wednesday morning in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa.

The Dragon 2 Cargo Capsule aboard the Falcon 9 rocket.

An operation that was carried out with all possible success, but which also had a somewhat curious mission: among many other things -even live mice- the capsule brought home 12 bottles of French Bordeaux wine and hundreds of fragments of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon strains, who have spent more than a whole year orbiting our planet in the name of science.

This Dragon capsule, designed for refueling, had been on the International Space Station for just over a month and the full load of objects and living beings that it returned to the earth It was over 4,400 pounds – over 2,000 kilos.

Each bottle of wine has been placed inside a steel cylinder to prevent it from breaking.
Each bottle of wine has traveled inside a steel cylinder to prevent it from breaking.

Alien wine

Transporting the wine was not an easy task: carefully packaged, each bottle was placed inside a steel cylinder to prevent it from breaking. During the year they have spent in International Space Stationhave remained corked aboard the orbiting laboratory.

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What is the OBJETIVE? Space Cargo Unlimited, the Luxembourg startup behind the experiments, wanted the wine to age for an entire year there. “Our goal is to address the solution of how we are going to have a farming tomorrow whatever organic and healthy and capable of feeding humanity, and we believe that space holds the key ”, stated Nicolas Gaume, CEO and co-founder of the company.

None of the bottles will be opened until the end of February. That’s when the company will open a bottle or two for a Bordeaux wine tasting by some of France’s leading connoisseurs and experts. Months of chemical testing will follow. Researchers are eager to see how space altered sedimentation and bubbles.

Agricultural science is the main objectiveGaume emphasizes, although he admits it will be fun to taste the came. You will be among the lucky few who will take a sip.

Archive image of Starship during its first test in September 2019.

With the climate changeGaume said that agricultural products like grapes will have to adapt to harsher conditions. Through a series of space experiments, Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to use what it has learned from stressing plants in weightlessness and make them more robust and resistant plants on Earth.

There is another benefit: Gaume hopes that future explorers who make it to the Moon and Mars will want to enjoy some of the joys of home.. Although we are surely not talking about a cheap fad – the co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited has declined to provide the cost of the project.

The wine traveled to the International Space Station in November 2019 aboard a Northrop Grumman supply ship. The 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine shards were released by SpaceX last March.

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