Ground control to space wine: You’re clear to land

table full of wines
Wine bottles made by the Chateau Angelus of which two were made in 1899, in Saint Emilion, near Bordeaux
Photo: GEORGES GOBET / Contributor (Getty Images)

A SpaceX Cargo Dragon capsule made its descent from the International Space Station via parachute and successfully came back down to us, bringing back over two tons of experimental items. Among those things included live rodents (I am picturing mice in very small space helmets) and a dozen bottles of space-aged French wine.

This marked the end of a 38-day mission for the Cargo Dragon, the first version of a new design of supply ships created to work with the International Space Station, Spaceflight Now reports. The rodent astronauts were mice involved in eye experiments; scientists wanted to see if any changes occurred in their eyesight, as at least 40% of astronauts report vision issues during long-term space deployments.

Researchers also sent 320 grapevine cuttings in order to see how radiation, low gravity, and the general stress of living in space would affect growth; the ultimate goal is to learn how to grow grapes under more stressful environments here down on Earth.

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But we’re really here to talk about the wine. The space-aged wine. Specifically 12 bottles of Bordeaux.

The wine spent over a year on the station, after it was delivered in 2019 by another supply ship. Some of the bottles will be opened for a tasting (of course—who doesn’t want to at least take a sip of space wine), and some will be set aside for research. Scientists plan on studying how the wine aged after 14 months of microgravity. What if it tastes terrible? Like a rotten dirty sock filled with moldy leather and blue cheese, with notes of burnt tobacco and pesticide fumigated plums? I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe we’ll find out space radiation makes truly magnificent wine, life is full of possibilities. I vote we do milk next.

Staff writer at The Takeout. Also: Saveur Humor Blog Award Winner, professional pizza maker, and insufferable troublemaker.

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