CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The International Space Station bid adieu Tuesday to 12 bottles of French Bordeaux wine and hundreds of snippets of grapevines that spent a year orbiting the world in the name of science.
SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule undocked with the wine and vines — and thousands of pounds of other gear and research, including mice — and aimed for a splashdown Wednesday night in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa. The Atlantic had been targeted, but poor weather shifted the arrival to Florida’s other side. SpaceX’s supply ships previously parachuted into the Pacific.
The carefully packed wine — each bottle nestled inside a steel cylinder to prevent breakage — remained corked aboard the orbiting lab. Space Cargo Unlimited, a Luxembourg startup behind the experiments, wanted the wine to age for an entire year up there.
None of the bottles will be opened until the end of February. That’s when the company will pop open a bottle or two for an out-of-this-world wine tasting in Bordeaux by some of France’s top connoisseurs and experts. Months of chemical testing will follow. Researchers are eager to see how space altered the sedimentation and bubbles.
Agricultural science is the primary objective, stresses Nicolas Gaume, the company’s CEO and co-founder, although he admits it will be fun to sample the wine. He’ll be among the lucky few taking a sip.
“Our goal is to tackle the solution of how we’re going to have an agriculture tomorrow that is both organic and healthy and able to feed humanity, and we think space has the key,” Gaume said from Bordeaux.
With climate change, Gaume said agricultural products like grapes will need to adapt to harsher conditions. Through a series of space experiments, Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to take what’s learned by stressing the plants in weightlessness and turn that into more robust and resilient plants on Earth.
There’s another benefit. Gaume expects future explorers to the moon and Mars will want to enjoy some of Earth’s pleasures.
“Being French, it’s part of life to have some good food and good wine,” he told The Associated Press.
Gaume said private investors helped fund the experiments. He declined to provide the project cost.
The wine hitched a ride to the space station in November 2019 aboard a Northrop Grumman supply ship. The 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine snippets, called canes in the grape-growing business, were launched by SpaceX last March.
SpaceX is the only shipper capable of returning space station experiments and other items intact. The other cargo capsules are filled with trash and burn up when reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
- AOC proposes funding to deprogram white supremacistsIn USAJanuary 16, 2021The federal government needs to fund the de-programming of white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Friday ...[Read more]
- Wizkid celebrates second son, King Ayo on his 5th birthdayIn Celebrity NewsJanuary 16, 2021Superstar singer, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun aka Wizkid has showered undying love on his second son, King Ayo as he celebrates his 5th birthday. 5 years ...[Read more]
- James Brown loses Instagram account, Bobrisky denies having handIn Celebrity NewsJanuary 16, 2021Controversial male barbie, Bobrisky has denied having hands in the loss of the Instagram account of fellow crossdresser, James Brown. James Brown had ...[Read more]
- Woman allegedly steals mail truck, crashes into more than 10 cars in NYCIn USAJanuary 16, 2021A woman is in custody after allegedly stealing a mail truck in Brooklyn and slamming it into at least 10 parked cars Friday night. The postal panic ...[Read more]
- 11 Gambino family members, associates plead guilty to multiple crimesIn USAJanuary 16, 2021A slew of admitted mobsters will now be trading their tony Westchester County digs for the bing. A Gambino captain and 10 members and associates of ...[Read more]
- State Sen. Luis Sepúlveda forced to deny domestic violence claim at toy driveIn USAJanuary 16, 2021A community leader co-hosting a toy giveaway with embattled state Sen. Luis Sepulveda erroneously let fly during the event Friday that the Bronx pol ...[Read more]
- Passengers and airline staff fight over flight cancellationIn NewsJanuary 15, 2021Frustrated passengers created a scene Friday evening, Jan 15, at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, after their flight was cancelled. ...[Read more]
- Elderly NYC couple gets COVID-19 vaccine after plea to de BlasioIn USAJanuary 15, 2021They finally got their shot. An 89-year-old Manhattan woman who made a heartbreaking public plea to Mayor Bill de Blasio last week to get the ...[Read more]
- 1867 new cases of COVID-19 recorded in NigeriaIn NewsJanuary 15, 20211867 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Nigeria on Friday, January 15, 2021. According to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, Lagos ...[Read more]
- Dr. Dre released from hospital after suffering a brain aneurysmIn NewsJanuary 15, 2021Dr. Dre has reportedly been released from hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm. According to TMZ, the hip-hop mogul went home on Friday, January ...[Read more]