When SpaceX Dragon launches on April 13th to resupply NASA’s International Space Station (ISS), it will be taking wine grape seed kits with it reports Wine Folly. Growing wine grapes in space may sound bizarre, but it’s actually a practical decision for astronauts, as grapes require less water than rice or soy, while producing a high potency fruit with very little waste.
The grapes, which will be housed in “Veggie” the ISS’s newest space plant growth chamber, were selected by molecular biologists for their natural health benefits. American scuppernongs were picked for its cancer-killing ellagic acid; the ancient muscat of Alexandria was selected for its high sugar content; and touriga nacional was chosen for its high amount of anthocyanin, the ingredient that provides its red pigment.
Anna-Lisa Paul, Ph.D., a molecular biologist on NASA’s Transgenic Arabidopsis Gene Expression System team, says, “When we leave Earth’s orbit, we’re going to take plants with us. We are explorers; it’s what we do as a species.”
Just kidding. But we can dream. Happy April 1. Well done, Wine Folly. [Wine Folly] [Photo: Flickr.com/nasamarshall]