Tokyo, Japan: A Japanese brewing and distilling company is sending samples of its whisky and other alcoholic beverages to the International Space Station next month to study the effect of zero gravity on the flavour of the drinks.
Suntory Holdings will send a total of six samples of its whiskies and other alcoholic beverages to the ISS, where they will be kept for at least a year to study the effect zero gravity has on the ageing process.
According to a spokesman at the company, the samples, which will be carried in glass flasks, will include both a 21-year-old single malt and a beverage that has just been distilled, 'The Wall Street Journal' reported.
The company hopes to learn how the ultimate zero gravity environment affects the taste of the products, he added. With the exception of some items like beer, alcoholic beverages are widely known to develop a mellow flavour when aged for a long time.
Although researchers have taken a variety of scientific approaches to elucidating the underlying mechanism, it is not clear how this occurs.
The company has conducted collaborative research which suggests the probability that mellowness develops by promoted formation of the high-dimensional molecular structure in the alcoholic beverage in environments where liquid convection is suppressed.
"On the basis of these results, the space experiments will be conducted to verify the effect of the convection-free state created by a microgravity environment to the mellowing of alcoholic beverage," the company said in a statement.
The samples will be carried to the space station on August 16 on Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's transfer vehicle Kounotori.
The first samples will return to Earth in about a year, while the rest will remain in space for at least two years.