The Washington Post: ‘White wine on the Red Planet? Scientists in Georgia are hunting for a perfect Martian grape’
The Washington Post has published an article which discuss the possibility of sending Georgian wine to Mars.
That is the thinking behind the IX Millennium project, which is seeking to develop grapevines fit for the possible Red Planet agriculture pods. The team also wants to put a Georgian stamp on one of the more unusual research fronts related to a dreamed-of Mars colony”, read the article.
The founder of Georgia’s Space Research Agency and an adviser to the Ministry of Education and Science Nikoloz Doborjginidze told The Washington Post that “If we’re going to live on Mars one day, Georgia needs to contribute. Our ancestors brought wine to Earth, so we can do the same to Mars”, he said.
A consortium of entrepreneurs and academics also are involved in IX Millennium, which refers to the tradition of viticulture in Georgia going back more than 8,000 years in this land between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. Endless debates are engaged on wine’s origins, but Georgia makes as credible a claim as any”, reads the article.
The quest for a Martian-friendly grape (which now looks as if it could be a white) began in 2016 when entrepreneur Elon Musk boasted that his company SpaceX could launch its first manned mission to Mars in 2024, a decade sooner than NASA’s most optimistic timetable.
That inspired the Georgian team to begin looking at grapes for space. In Georgia, the team is about to embark on experiments on grape varieties and Mars-like soil.
As the article reads the group plans to establish Georgia’s first vertical-farming lab in capital of Tbilisi this year, to test the seeds which could eventually be taken on long space journeys.
Next, Tbilisi’s Business Technology University plans to test various soils before simulating a Martian environment in a laboratory, complete with subzero temperatures, high carbon monoxide levels and air pressure that is equivalent to 20,000 feet altitude on Earth.
“Knowing what Martian happy hour will taste like will take some time, though. The project doesn’t expect to know which Georgian grapevines will be most suitable for Mars until at least 2022”, reads the article.
Read the full story here.