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Does French wine pair well with space?

A dozen bottles of fine French wine sent to space to age for one year

A European start-up sent a dozen bottles of Bordeaux to the International Space Station to find out.  The wine was sent up from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia last month. It will remain at the space station for a year to age.

Universities in Bordeaux, France and Bavaria, Germany, are working with Luxembourg-based startup Space Cargo Unlimited to conduct the experiment.  In a video published on Space Cargo Unlimited’s website, Michael Lebert, a professor of biology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and scientific director of the experiment, explained that wine is an ideal product to study in space.

Researchers will examine how decreased gravity and space radiation affect the wine’s aging. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.  In this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 photo provided by Space Cargo Unlimited, researchers with Space Cargo Unlimited prepare bottles of French red wine to be flown aboard a Northrop Grumman capsule from Wallops Island, Va., to the International Space Station.

The wine will age for a year up there before returning to the Luxembourg company. AP The space-aged wine will be compared with wine aged on Earth. A company spokeswoman said the remaining wine will be given to benefactors of the experiment. The bottles, along with an oven and material for baking chocolate chip cookies, barley for an experiment with Budweiser and carbon fibre for Lamborghini sports cars, travelled in a Northrop Grumman capsule as part of a cargo delivery.

Each bottle of wine was packaged in a metal canister to prevent it from shattering. This isn’t the first time alcohol has been sent to space for research. Japanese whiskey company Suntory sent up samples in 2015 for aging.

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