Space whisky? Say it aint so...(Source)

Right now, something very precious to us is orbiting high over head. No, it's not a GPS or a communications satellite, it's whiskey.

In 2011, one of the most important experiments in human history was started. With the help of Ardbeg distillery, astronauts took several vials of Ardbeg scotch whiskey to the International Space Station to start an experiment to determine if the environment of space (specifically microgravity) affected the maturation process of the spirits. This will be the first liquor in human history to actually mature off-world.

Dr Bill Lumsden in his lab (via: Ardbeg Distillery)

In a statement, Ardberg distillery states, "The vials contained a class of compounds known as 'terpenes.' Ardbeg was invited by US-based space research company NanoRacks LLC to take part in testing these micro organic compounds in a maturation experiment (the interaction of these compounds with charred oak) between normal gravity on Earth and micro-gravity i.e. space."

For the last couple of years, the booze has been orbiting the Earth at 8 km/s (5 mi/s), completing more than 15,000 trips around our planet. The journey for this whiskey will come to an end on September 12th when it returns to Earth to be tested and consumed.

After landing, the whiskey is going to be shipped to Houston, where the whiskey's creator says they'll, "proceed to unlock the mysteries of maturation, through the study of the interaction between Ardbeg-crafted molecules and charred oak, both in micro-gravity (in orbit) and normal gravity (in Ardbeg's Warehouse 3)."

When the testing is complete, we'll know how well our booze holds up in space, which will bring us one giant leap forward to colonizing the universe.

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