French wine bottles, grapevines return to Earth after a year in space

French wine bottles, grapevines return to Earth after a year in space

12 bottles of French Bordeaux wine and pieces of grapevine that spent a year orbiting in space returned to Earth.

The spaceship is now scheduled for splashdown on Wednesday night in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida.

Previous Dragon cargo missions have seen splashdowns into the Pacific Ocean, but this upgraded version of the Dragon cargo vessel was planned to touch back down into the Atlantic, closer to NASA's science processing Kennedy Space Center in Florida, reported.

The wine bottles were packaged inside steel cylinders and remain uncorked since they were sent into orbit in November 2019.

Space Cargo Unlimited, a Luxembourg startup behind the experiments, wanted the wine to age for a year in space. Thus, none of these bottles will be opened for tasting up until February.

"Our goal is to address the solution to how to have tomorrow's agriculture that is organic, healthy and able to feed humanity", said Nicholas Gaum, co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited.

Researchers from Space Cargo Unlimited prepare bottles of French red wine to be flown from Wallops Island Va. to the International Space Station on Nov. 2 2019

Gaume said that farm goods such as grapes would have to adjust to harsh weather in the face of climate change.

Gaume, who will be among those tasting the space Bordeaux, said he hopes the experiment proves useful for future space explorers to enjoy the drink on the moon and Mars.

He explained, "Being French, having some good food and good wine is part of life".

The bottles were launched into space and brought to the International Space Station in November 2019 aboard a Northrop Grumman supply ship. The 320 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine snippets, called canes in the grape-growing business, were launched by SpaceX last March. Researchers and wine experts are very interested in seeing how the elements, temperature, and environment in space has changed the wine's sedimentation and bubbles.

"Dragon will conduct a deorbit burn at 7:37 p.m. EST [0200 GMT Thursday, Jan. 14] to begin its re-entry sequence into Earth's atmosphere".

So far, only SpaceX is the shipper that is capable of returning items from space back to Earth fully intact.