SpaceX's upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft detached from the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday with a lot of valuable cargo on board. When it splashes down back to Earth on Wednesday, it will bring 12 bottles of wine and 320 grape plants back to Earth.
Image from: cnBeta
The wine and vines are part of the Mission WISE (Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia) experiment, an agricultural research project operated by the private European company Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU).SCU sent 12 bottles of Bordeaux to the space station in November 2019 wine, followed by 320 vines in March 2020.
The wines were aged in space for a year. space Cargo Unlimited will investigate how space radiation and microgravity affect the composition of the wines during the aging process, the company said in a statement after the launch.
SCU and its partners will investigate how the vines respond to the space environment - they come from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines - and researchers will compare orbital specimens with similar plants preserved on Earth. scu says it intends to hold a private tasting sometime in January and reveal the wines at that time as well.
Wine and vines are just the beginning of the Mission WISE series of experiments. Next are experiments involving bacteria, yeast and fermentation.
SpaceX has enough space to bring samples back to its modified Cargo Dragon spacecraft." The upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft used on this mission contains twice the availability of the previous capsule-powered lockers, allowing for a significant increase in the research that can be brought back to Earth," NASA said in a statement Tuesday.
The International Space Station has embraced commercial experiments that seek to take advantage of the unique environment of the space station. Back in 2011, small bottles of Scotch were sent to the ISS.