The International Space Station made headlines months ago, after the very first space espresso machine, the ISSpresso, was introduced to the orbiting laboratory. European Space Agency’s, Samantha Cristoforetti, welcomed it with open arms and let the world know of her enthusiasm by posting onto social media. Now, astronauts aboard the ISS have another thing to celebrate. Japanese distillery, Suntory, is planning to send whiskey to space to see how the trip might affect the taste of the alcohol.
Today, Suntory is one of Japan’s largest and oldest makers of alcoholic beverages. The company, which was established in 1899, currently makes both best-selling and award-winning Japanese whiskey. As such, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Suntory would become the company to send whiskey to space, with the International Space Station as the ultimate destination.
Sending Whiskey to Space in the Name of Science
Although nothing can be stated certainly, researchers believe that storing the whiskey on the ISS could cause it to age in a different manner than it ordinarily would on Earth – mainly due to the zero-gravity conditions of space. Of course, in order to prove this hypothesis, the alcohol must be sealed in jars and left to age for over a year. Researchers, however, anticipate that the flavor of the beverage will be mellower in taste. Why exactly? Well, according to scientists from Tokyo University and the University of Tokyo, this might be due to the molecular structure of the alcohol. Supposedly, when liquid convection is stopped, the whiskey develops a mellower flavor. Thus, by aging the beverage in a “convection-free, low-gravity environment, on the ISS,” scientists are expecting to create a perfectly mellow drink.
The said mission will take place in the Japanese module of the ISS – known as Kibo – and will test five different types of products. Unfortunately, for us grounded civilians, the space whiskey will not be available to purchase, according to AFP reports. Rather, the samples will be held in a laboratory so that researchers can conduct various tests. Luckily for Cristoforetti, there’s espresso to keep her busy.