Space Station Suntory: Japanese Whisking Whiskey Up To ISS

Good afternoon, space fans!  We know it's a day after our usual ISS posts, but this one was worth an extra article.

Will whiskey sent into orbit get you spacefaced?
(Image courtesy zomgsmellsshop.com.)




According to the Wall Street Journal, Japanese whiskey giant Suntory intends to change up the natural order of things and give its booze the spins, instead of the other way around.  Also, those spins are actually orbits around the earth.

Six samples of Suntory beverages, including its lauded whiskey, will be bound for the ISS for "experiments."  Not the kind of experiments that involve mixing it with weird sodas or infusions to see if it makes a neat cocktail...the kind of experiments that study the effects that zero gravity has on aging.

A sample of 21-year-old Suntory whiskey and a freshly-distilled sample will be among the scientific sauce sent.  The variations in temperature, shaking, and fluid convection inherent to micro-gravity may make the whiskey taste "mellower."


On the rocks?  How about on the MOONrocks?
(Image courtesy tor.com.)

The ISS astronauts are also deeply involved in a similar aging experiment - astronaut Mark Kelly is now a third of the way into his One-Year Crew mission (while his twin brother Scott stays safe from the rigors of space as a "control" element of the experiment here on Earth.)  Unfortunately, the space-aged humans will not be able to sip the space-aged whiskey, as it is to return to Earth for analysis (some samples after one year, some samples after at least two.)  No word on whether spaceflight will have the same effects on its human experiment and make Astronaut Kelly more mellow (probably not...spacefaring doesn't bode well for slacking off.)

A similar experiment was previously undertaken by the Ardbeg distillery, when samples of their proprietary terpene molecules (micro-organic compounds) were studied in a maturation experiment with charred oak pieces.  The experiment took place simultaneously in Ardbeg's distillation Warehouse 3 on Earth as well as on the ISS, where the samples were stored in a Nano-Rack enclosure for three years.  The samples were returned to Earth last September, with professional tasting-results pending.

This whisking-away of the Suntory whiskey will commence on August 16th, when the JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) transfer vehicle Kounotori will serve them up to the space station.  Godspeed, good booze.  Let's hope the Russians have enough vodka stashed up there that no one feels the need to sneak in a few "test results" early.


We can taste the Marstinis already.
(Image courtesy www.fromquarkstoquasars.com.)





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