Spirits Maker Shoots Alcoholic Beverages Into Space, Because Science

If a whiskey is aged in space, will it be mellower? It sounds a bit like a Zen koan, but in fact it is a question that may soon have an answer.

If a whiskey is aged in space, will it be mellower? It sounds a bit like a Zen koan (“the sound of one hand clapping” and all that), but in fact it is a question that may soon have an answer.

On August 16, the spirits maker Suntory will rocket six samples — five kinds of distilled spirits of different ages as well as a liquid that is 40 percent ethanol — into space in order to explore, the company says in   a news release, the “development of mellowness in alcoholic beverage through the use of a microgravity environment.”

The spirits will be sent, via the automated cargo spacecraft H-II Transfer Vehicle No. 5, to the International Space Station’s Japanese Experiment Module (aka “Kibo”), in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Once the alcoholic beverages arrive at the space station, they will remain there, “in a convection-free state,” for at least a year, and in some cases two years or more, while scientists conduct a series of experiments to help them scientifically pinpoint the “mechanism that makes alcohol mellow,” the Suntory news release notes.

You’ll drink to that? Great, but count the astronauts aboard the International Space Station out. They reportedly won’t be allowed to sample the scientifically monitored spirit specimens. Aw, but just remember:  Tears don’t fall in space.

Photo courtesy of iStock Photo
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