Space X Is Bringing A Case Of Wine That’s Been On The ISS Back To Earth
SpaceX has taken part in some unconventional missions, and the latest sees a case of wine return to Earth to see if space has had an impact on the product.
Whether it’s sending a car aimlessly into space, or taking Baby Yoda to the International Space Station, SpaceX has managed to do some pretty unconventional missions.
This trend is set to continue as the SpaceX Dragon capsule is set to return to earth from the ISS with 12 bottles of wine and 320 grapevines.
The wine and grapevine were taken to the space station in November 2019 and March 2020. Despite the unconventional nature of the mission, the European startup, Space Cargo Unlimited, has explained that the process of sending wine to and from space has been part of an experiment.
The vines will be inspected to see if radiation exposure and the changed microgravity has impacted how they change genetically. The goal of this study is to adapt vines that can grow in harsher environments. Alongside the scientific study, wine tasters will also sample 12 bottles of wine to check if the flavour has been altered.
The academic journal Biotechnology Advances noted what the experiment hoped to track:
Living organisms adapt to changing environments using their amazing flexibility to remodel themselves by a process called evolution. Environmental stress causes selective pressure and is associated with genetic and phenotypic shifts for better modifications, maintenance, and functioning of organismal systems.
Plants like vines are an essential component in food production that feeds the world. However, studies on these kinds of plants had not been done until now, and Michael Lebert, SCU’s chief scientific officer, has claimed that this experiment ‘could be a game-changer in unlocking the agriculture of tomorrow.’
Many will hope that this experiment provides valuable insight into alternative agricultural channels that can be explored. However, like anything in space, continued experiments would take significant investment and a lengthy timescale to get missions approved. Nonetheless, some similar experiments are being conducted in the future that may help build on the initial insight that has been gained from the vines.
For those who aren’t wine lovers, future experiments will test the effect of space conditions on the fermentation of bacteria and yeast. This could mean that space beer will become a reality. With that said, there is likely a much greater scientific need for these tests, although there’s nothing wrong with improving the taste of beverages.
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