Proponents of space exploration and development have always argued that there will be lots of benefits from being able to do things in zero gravity. Form perfect spheres. Create chemical and metallurgical compounds that wouldn’t be possible in Earth’s heavy gravity. Experiment with positions undreamed of by the authors of the Kama Sutra.
Now there’s another item to add to the list — the Ardbeg distillery, which has been making whiskey for more than 300 years, has sent malt to the International Space Station to see how the malt, and some charred oak, mature and interact in zero gravity conditions. The hope is that the process might lead to the development of new flavors or other discoveries that benefit the whiskey industry.
I’m all in favor of this use of the International Space Station. The Station shouldn’t be limited to boring science experiments devised by the junior biology class at Shaker Heights High School. Why not see if basic consumer products can be improved?
I can’t stand the smell or taste of scotch, no matter how much its afficionados rave about its subtle taste and scent and nuanced aftertones. If the International Space Station can somehow help to develop a scotch that doesn’t smell and taste like lighter fluid, it will have been worth every penny.