Whether winemaking can become a new space startup

Some scientists believe that extracting wine and winemaking in general can become the next major space startup. The first experiment has already yielded positive results. Now the researchers plan to experiment with growing grapes in zero gravity.

Bottles of wine during the experiment in space were in such cylinders. Source: phys.org

Wine in Space

Now it is believed that the main commercial idea in the field of near-Earth space exploration is space tourism. It is a walk beyond the Earth, according to most economists, that should be the beginning of the activity that will make space flights really profitable. However, other experts have reasonable doubts that an industry that produces services, not goods, will be able to become a locomotive of transformation.

Instead, experts suggest paying attention to wine. Humanity has been producing it for thousands of years and it still remains one of the most profitable businesses. However, until now, the process of its creation requires a long exposure. The older the wine gets, the better its properties are felt and the more it is appreciated.

However, it was not possible to speed up this process. But the space industry has something to offer. The WISE program will help to find out how effective winemaking can be in space. The WISE program will help to find out how effective winemaking can be in space. It is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia, that is, “wine in a long experiment”.

Experimental results

The mission consists of six experiments funded by the European company Space Cargo Unlimited. The first of six missions, which involved sending 12 bottles of wine from Bordeaux into space, was launched back in 2019. They stayed in orbit for 438 days and returned to Earth in January 2021.

It is important to note that both alcohol and glass belong to materials that are prohibited on the ISS, so all this time the bottles were in a securely closed container. But after they were returned to Earth, the specialists uncorked one of them and tasted it.

The most amazing thing is that the wine that “aged” in space turned out to be different from what had been on Earth all this time. Experts noticed differences in both its color and taste. The drink looks like it has been aged at least 2-3 times longer than it actually is.

Winemaking in orbit

However, experiments with wine aging are not the only ones that are planned to be carried out in orbit. The next step should be to grow the vine in zero gravity. Not only is it observed on the International Space Station, but there is also an increased level of radiation. Therefore, scientists want to find out how these factors will affect the cultivation of what wine is made from.

Scientists expect that they can in some interesting way affect the DNA of plants and improve their quality. Interestingly, almost at the same time, the Chinese are conducting similar experiments with agricultural crops at their station.

In order to assess how promising winemaking is in orbit, Space Cargo Unlimited plans to conduct three more experiments. They will concern bacteria, yeast and the fermentation process.

In addition, the researchers are not going to stop at grapes and winemaking. They want to experiment with other plants as well. Space is a stress that can positively affect their growth. So far, the research results have no practical application, but they convincingly prove that something really happens to plants in space.

According to phys.org

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