The race for affordable space tourism is on, but what will travelers drink to celebrate when they finally achieve orbit?
Champagne would seem the obvious choice — but while knocking back effervescent wine in zero gravity might sound simple, it isn’t.
In outer space, everything has to be rethought: the pouring of the liquid, the way that bubbles function and the very taste of the champagne itself.
Champagne house Mumm thinks it’s spotted an opportunity to create the first fizz that can be drunk while floating in weightlessness.
It’s spent three years and an unspecified amount of cash to develop Mumm’s Cordon Stellar, a beverage its creators believe will be being drunk in space within the next five years.
Mumms high tech bottle dispenses its content as a foam, which can then be caught in glasses or simply drunk straight out of the air.
To launch its new product, Mumm recruited the hollowed-out Airbus A310 airplane that the European Space Agency uses to simulate zero-gravity for research and astronaut training by flying parabolic arcs.
Bubbles In Orbit
Among those enjoying the first splashes of champagne in simulated space was French astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy, a veteran of the Space Shuttle program.
Clervoy says that once people find themselves beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, they’re going to want to celebrate. Partly because of what they will see but mostly because they, unlike the astronauts, will have time to take it all in.
“When you’re in space as a professional astronaut, you focus on your task, and you don’t have too much time to think about your condition being in space as a human being,” Clervoy says.
“But when you take a distance and you look at the Earth you realize that humankind so far is limited on that little body that is Earth.
“And you think it cannot be the destiny of humankind to stay there. And you want to have more and more people going to space.”
And what better way than with bubbles to celebrate that?
Of course, sipping champagne in space isn’t for everyone. Of the 30-odd journalists on board the Mumm testflight, a handful were instead reaching for the sick bag as the zero-gravity flight lived up to its “vomit comet” nickname.
Mass space tourism may still be some way off, but with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic project vying with others like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla’s Elon Musk to take paying travelers beyond our atmosphere, more people could soon be entering orbit.
The idea that many of us may one day get to look back down at the Earth with a glass in hand is something worth toasting.
Written by Saskya Vandoorne, Mark Esplin and Melissa Bell for CNN.
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