Would-be space travellers have been fantasising about alcohol in space for a long time

PARIS, Feb 6 — If we find ourselves one day on the planet Mars, will we still be able to toast one another with a glass of beer or wine in our hand?

With space tourism increasingly becoming a reality, a slew of projects envisioning sending alcohol into space are helping people imagine a festive existence in orbit.

We’ve seen that aging wine at sea can have positive effects, thanks to the darkness and the constant temperature.

Could outer space also prove to bestow unique properties on an alcohol in the context of an aging location?

An American distillery recently announced on US TV’s ABC News that it intends to send its bourbon barrels into the Earth’s orbit for a year of aging.

This project , developed by Mystic Farm and Distillery, could be executed as part of a launch from Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

After having already aged its 55 per cent corn and 45 per cent wheat beverage in the traditional way, the Durham, North Carolina distillery wants to create an extra special edition.

Thus, only 1,500 bottles will be part of the expedition, all authenticated by NFT. If you want to be part of the Mystic Galactic mission, it will cost you US$75,000.

The price to pay for exclusive access to the flavours of space… By holding this digital token, owners will also have privileged access to mission data via an app.

And they’ll even be able to watch the process in real time via a live video feed.

Wine on the moon and vodka on Mir

Whether or not it’s rooted in a genuine desire to explore whether weightless conditions can provide a new dimension to an alcohol’s taste, this campaign is an incredible marketing coup for this North Carolina company.

Beyond the mission itself, it shows us just how keen many people are to create a link between life in space and alcohol, an element associated with social pleasure and celebrations in many cultures. With nearly every space mission the question comes up, with the media wanting to know about astronauts’ menus and whether alcohol will be paired with the meals.

Back in 2017, the BBC delved into this complex relationship between the space universe and alcohol. Indeed Buzz Aldrin figures in the legends and history surrounding the subject.

The second man to walk on the moon said in a book that he had a small communion ceremony in which he sipped a little bit of wine before stepping out of the lunar module, in the company of Neil Armstrong.

Later, Russians are reported to have taken cognac and vodka on board the Mir station with some reports suggesting the cosmonauts were even advised to consume alcohol for health reasons…

During the launch of the first American space station, Skylab, at the beginning of the 1970s, there were originally plans for astronauts to drink sherry. After some controversy, Nasa finally decided to ban alcohol in space. A measure that is still in place today.

However in the early 2000s, with the first private space flights, including that of Dennis Tito at a cost of 20 million dollars, space tourism changed the game a little bit, as some of these very wealthy travellers may find it difficult to imagine a vacation without an aperitif. This has led to a host of initiatives aimed at creating drinks to be consumed in space.

In 2011, an Australian brewery, from the suburbs of Sydney, produced a beer specifically designed to be drunk in space.

More recently, champagne house Mumm has worked on the issue, by developing a bottle specifically designed to be uncorked on board the international space station during a private flight. The bubbles of the Cordon Rouge cuvée should be propelled into space this year during the next Axiom Space mission.

One might think that the subject is superficial compared to the experiments carried out on board the ISS related to medical studies, for instance to accelerate the production of stem cells or to anticipate antibiotic resistance.

But the results of the second phase of the Deep Space Food Challenge, led by Nasa to find solutions for feeding humans in space, have just demonstrated that alcohol could also fuel the work of astronauts.

Among the selected start-ups, there is a wildly innovative New York project (by Air Company), which consists in transforming the carbon dioxide expelled by an astronaut into alcohol molecules, announced Nasa.

The idea would not be to make cocktails out of it, however, but rather to use it as food to feed yeast to produce proteins, fats and carbohydrates to feed a team of astronauts. — ETX Studio


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