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Will there be wine on Mars?

Grapes of the kind that Georgian scientists hope to grow on Mars. (photo: Nikoloz Bezhanishvili)

Next time Matt Damon becomes marooned on Mars, he can soak away his days and enjoy Saperavi instead of growing potatoes as he did so stubbornly in 2015 blockbuster, The Martian. Georgia, an old wine producing redoubt, puts its best space science and wine growing together to develop grapes suitable for growing on Mars.

With its rocks and deserts, the red planet can not offer the best terroir for growing grapes, but with an 8,000 year history of grape cultivation on the planet Earth, Georgia is still eager to give it a swirl. After all, NASA and the International Potato Center have successfully experimented with growing potatoes in march-like conditions, why not take Marian farming to the next, more sybaritic scene?

The idea was born of a recent call for proposals from NASA, the United States space agency to facilitate a sustainable human presence on Mars. "This may include protection, food, water, breathing air, communication, exercise, social interaction and medicine, but participants are invited to consider innovative and creative ideas beyond these examples," NASA wrote in a press release announcing the initiative in May. 1

9659003] A working group was established in Tbilisi to work on the Marsvin Project, formally launched on June 22 at the Georgian National Museum. Named the IX Millennium, the project involves setting up a "Vertical Greenhouse Laboratory for Growing Vineyards in a" Closed, Controlled Space ", reported the Georgian News Agency. Agenda. The lab will be based on a hotel in Tbilisi and run by a company called SpaceFarms.

"We began thinking about how Georgia can participate in this project [Journey to Mars Challenge] and we have decided it should be the wine drink", Rector Misha Batiashvili of Tbilisi-based Business and Technology University told IPN newswire. "Wine production is ours historical patrimonium and our pride. "

According to the traditional Georgian wine making method, wine in the elder spoon bald rice is buried in the ground. It is not yet clear whether Georgia will try to export that technology to Mars as well. At present, efforts are focused on selecting the most suitable grape varieties.

So far, Georgia's premier bee drag to space exploration was a folklot that was sent to space aboard Voyager spacecraft in the 1970s as part of NASA's message from earth to universe. As with traditional polyphonic vocals, wine production is also deeply intertwined with the Georgian national identity. Grapevins honor sings in folk songs and poetry and depicted as basic relief jewelry at the nation's ancient churches.

A Soviet World War II classic film, a soldier's father, may give the best image of the Georgians' cultural link to grapes. The main character of the film, an old Georgian farmer Red Army recruits rapturously, finds vineyards in newly occupied Germany. For a moment forget he is all about the fighting raging around and begins to talk with the vines and attaches new shots to the trolley. "How did you see your blessed thing?" Does he ask what has become a popular contractual speech in Georgia. Maybe another day, another Georgian to say the same on Mars.

Giorgi Lomsadze is a journalist based in Tbilisi.

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