Space-Aged Whiskey and Russian Rockets



Here at Reason, we have talked some smack about the experiments being conducted at the International Space Station and on the U.S. Shuttles. (See Robert Zubrin on the deaths in the Columbia, "a flight devoted to ant farms, recycled-urine-based finger paints, and other science fair experiments.") But here's a worthy mission, sent up on a Russian cargo rocket: a two-year long experiment devoted to the study of terpenes and other molecules in near-zero gravity. Terpenes, eh? Wonder what those do…

NanoRacks LLC, the US company behind the research, has said understanding the influence of gravity could help a number of industries, including the whisky industry, to develop new products in the future….

Compounds of unmatured malt were sent to the station in an unmanned cargo spacecraft in October last year, along with particles of charred oak.

Space-aged whiskey!

The researchers are also measuring the molecules' interaction at normal gravity on Earth so they can compare the way the particles mature.

Via Rand Simberg.

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  1. So it’s Bourbon if made in Kentucky and Scotch when it’s from Scotland. If it’s made in space will there be a new name or will it fall into one of the whisky/whiskey camps?

      1. Well, the difference between bourbon and scotch is more than just the location of the distillery.

        1. I like bourbon. It’s my drink of choice. I hate scotch.

          1. This leads me to a new hypothesis: If libertarians can’t find anything else to disagree about, they will vehemently debate the merits of whisk(e)y varieties.

            1. Oh, sure. I’m not even that hardcore. For instance, I like the stuff from Kentucky and from Tennessee. The better, non-crappy stuff, of course.

          2. See, I’m completely the opposite. Scotch is the only non-liqueur hard liquor I’ll drink.

    1. You can put whatever you want to in Canadian Whisky (including 10% of stuff that is not whisky or water).

      1. This is true. I use it as the fluid medium for flushing my toilet. Very useful.

        1. “Fuck You, Scrubbing Bubbles”
          -Pro Lib

          1. This is correct. See, by using Canadian whiskey in place of water, there’s no need to clean. It’s a self-cleaning medium.

    1. That didn’t stop Kirk from getting it! Now, Picard, he never illegally obtained anything, mostly because he was a douche who drank Earl Grey.

      I fucking hate bergamot.

      1. Kirk was a man who had no use for rules. How many times did he violate the prime directive? Monsieur Picard was an effete little frog.

        1. Not quite. Kirk knew when to violate the Prime Directive. Picard was just following orders and wasn’t morally responsible for the Federation’s many crimes against freedom.

        2. Kirk got in a fight with a Gorn and won. Picard got in a fight with a spring and won.

          1. Picard got in a fight with a spring

            I haven’t run through the series recently enough it seems. Lil help with the reference?

          2. The Gorn do seem to fight in slow motion. Despite that, he still had the balls to take on Kirk.

            1. I view that as akin to zombies. The Gorn is slow, but you’re utterly screwed once he gets his hands on you. And he never, ever stops coming after you.

      2. Earl Grey is for pussies. Romulan Ale, on the otherhand, is perfect for “a swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of god-hood”.

        1. It’s such a perfect description of Kirk that it’s scary.

          Kirk would have personally thrown Wesley off his bridge.

          1. I think Wesley could’ve taken Checkov by the 3rd or 4th season.

              1. No way. Kirk couldn’t even tame her. And now that we know for certain about Sulu…

                1. That’s the actor, not the character. Sulu and Chekov used to hang out at strip clubs together.

                2. Kirk once fought a Greek god. And won.

                  1. No being can prevail against the double-foot kick.

                    1. Your stamina is greatly improved by having fight doubles who look nothing like you. True fact.

                    2. the double-foot kick.

                      Cousin to the Clasped-Hand Clobber.

          2. Episiarch, again you demonstrate that English is not your first language. You mean that Kirk would’ve thrown him out of the bridge. Out the airlock.

            1. Picard allows cats on board, while Kirk beams away even cute things, like tribbles.

              1. Yeah, he beamed them to Klingons. What do you think the Klingons did, abandon ship?

                Kirk is the ultimate bad-ass in science fiction. No debate, no question. In fact, this comment should be deleted as criminally redundant. Mike, delete this comment!

                1. Technically Scotty beamed them to the Klingon’s engine room “where they’ll be no tribble at all”. Kirk just laughed and gave tacit approval after the fact.

                  Picard, OTOH, would have immediately opened a hailing frequency to the Klingons and issued a sincere apology on behalf of Starfleet. At which point the Klingons would have immediately turned around and opened fire on the Enterprise. Which is why Picard wouldn’t have lasted very long in the rough and tumble days of the orginal series.

                  1. You know, I would love to see a fan film–an entire hour-long episode–on the repercussions of Scotty’s little tribble transporting act. Hardcore, brutally serious story about the Klingons dealing with the tribbles, who, it turns out, actually prey on Klingons.

                    Kind of like Alien, except with many thousands of murdering creatures instead of one, and with Klingons. I think the Klingons win out in the end–barely–and don’t take it as an act of war or even mention it again knowing that the first reaction by the Federation and most of the rest of the galaxy would be laughter.

                    1. I think the Klingons win out in the end

                      eh. I’d rather see a lone tribble in ill fitting panties making its escape in the emergency shuttle.

                    2. You’re not taking this idea seriously. Though I’m not committed to the idea of the Klingons prevailing. A final scene of an empty ship, filled with tribbles, could work as well. I assume the tribbles in that case would soon turn on each other, as the ship warps off into space, out of control.

                    3. A final scene of an empty ship, filled with tribbles, could work as well.

                      Kinda like the ending of the “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” segment of Creep Show?

                    4. A Klingon ship comes across the ship from the Trouble w/ Tribbles episode floating dead in space with no detectable life signs (let’s just assume tribbles don’t register on their sensors).

                      A boarding party is beamed over to investigate only to discover that the original crew was killed and eaten by tribbles, who have now overrun the entire ship. Due to some kind of Deus Ex Machina transporter and comm malfunction the other ship can only track the boarding partie’s life signs as they are hunted down one by one by the tribbles.

                      Finally the transporter is repaired just in time to beam the last survivor of the boarding party back on board just before he’s overrun by the mindless furry hoard. The captain of the rescue vessel orders the ship to be destroyed and official Klingon Empire records never record the true fate of the ship or crew.

                      Roll credits.

                    5. Too derivative, but it’s appropriately dark.

                    6. Yeah, unfortunately a lot of things are derivative at this point.

                      Actually what you wrote earlier about “A final scene of an empty ship, filled with tribbles, could work as well” could be how part one ends.

                      That would be the story about the original crew getting overrun and killed by the tribbles, then my idea could be Tribble 2: Tribble Harder.

                      Assuming Tribble 1 does well enough for a sequel.

                    7. Definitely seeing the tribbles as non-sentient, mindlessly devoted to killing Klingons.

                      In Part 2, I suppose we could play with the tribbles’ total love of other species and absolute nonviolence. Then return to the slaughter of Klingons. Compare and contrast.

                    8. Assuming Tribble 1 does well enough for a sequel.

                      Safe Assumption.

          3. One of my colleagues gets to meet and interview the Shat when he comes to town soon. I’m so jealous.

            1. “I touched the Shat. I felt the gift.”

              No way a religion doesn’t form around him after his death. No way.

              1. And since the liturgy will, of course, be in Esperanto, I should make cardinal in no time.

                1. Yes, farsighted of you. Only I don’t think they’ll call leading prelates in Shatnerism “cardinals.” Maybe admirals?

                  And red shirts will have a very special meaning in Shatnerism.

              2. Oddly, said religion will be based on Vulcan theophilosphy.

                1. With secret rituals involving exposing the neophyte to radiation while he recites Spock’s dying lines from Wrath of Khan.

                  1. A reading from the voice-over of Shatner to the Hanna-Barberans:

                    And William went forward to give the Word, and lo, the temple priests attempted to alter the Word

                    1. I know the religion hasn’t actually been founded yet, but I’d watch the blasphemy.

                    2. Every religion needs its heretics.

                    3. I demand the formal combat! Kroykah!

                    4. Why don’t you people just… get a life! Move out of your parents basements!

                      You, Pro Libertate, have you ever even kissed a girl? I mean, it’s just a TV show!

                    5. That’s the Anti-Shatner.

                    6. Evil Shatner from a parallel universe.

      3. “I fucking hate bergamot.”

        What the fuck is wrong with you? Were your parents brother and sister or something?

        1. Look, don’t get butthurt just because you like something that tastes like a headache would taste if it had a flavor.

    2. Apropos of all this, the first 5 chapters of John Scalzi’s Redshirts is up at It looks to be a pretty funny sendup of the trope written from the perspective of potential away team tragedies.

  2. If this were about space and tequila, Pro Libertate would never leave this thread.

    1. Wrong again, Penguin! I’m a bourbon man. Tequila is just a sideline of madness, blackouts, and regret.

      1. See, I generally have either blackouts or regret.

        I figure, if I can’t remember it, what’s to regret?

        Speaking of which, I’ve been trying sotol recently (a tequila relative). Very nice for sipping.

        1. I don’t drink much anymore, but when I did in excess, I had blackouts and regrets because I had friends who would tell me what I did.

          Good thing that was all pre-social media. Don’t know how kids deal with all that today.

          1. I read a story where this year’s spring break has become tamer because nobody wants to be on you tube/facebook.

            1. Seriously, there’s a huge need for personal disruption technology that renders recording of your acts massively impractical.

              1. I SpringBreak inside a NoField.

                1. I SpringBreak inside a NoField.

                  obligatory pickup line:

                  “Hey baby, what happens in the NoField STAYS in the NoField.”

              2. For cops only. You wouldn’t want that technology in the hands of the little people do you.

        2. The last time I drank tequila I blacked out 30 minutes before my cruise ship left port. Luckily I don’t have any regrets, but I can see a scenario where I would have.

            1. My friend and I still have no clue at all how we made it the 10 miles to our ship in time.

              1. Tequila. It solves all problems. If you find yourself in an absolutely insoluble dilemma, drink enough tequila until the tequila takes over. I guarantee that your problem will be solved or disappear entirely.

                1. All I had to do was give up the 4PM-8PM of that day and I was saved. Praise be to tequila. Also, in its wisdom, it allowed me to wake up just in time to rush to dinner to start drinking again.

                  1. The beauty of tequila is not just that it can solve problems, it can make them never exist in the first place. It transcends time and space.

  3. NanoRacks LLC

    Is this a company that specializes in breast reduction technology? If so they need to be stopped immediately.

    1. Don’t be absurd. Who would pay for that? It’s a company that injects molecular-sized robots into female bosoms, making them adjustable in size, depending on the situation.

      1. Dear God, man. Write an elevator pitch and let’s get out to Silicon Valley.

        1. I think “Molecular-sized robots in female bosoms, making them adjustable in size depending on the situation” is the best elevator pitch in the history of elevators.

          1. Good point. Could we get an animation though? Steal it from Weird Science if necessary.

            1. Breast reduction? The horror! The horror!

              1. It’s okay, BP. It was a false alarm. All is well.

        2. I just did. Send me a few hundred million and some stock when it’s all done.

  4. I smell a marketing gimmick and high priced space scoth

  5. Nonstop speculation about the industrial potential of microgravity, but nobody ever talks about the temperature. cryogenic temps available with simple passive radiators.

  6. I once blew a chance with a really hot girl by honestly answering “If you could do anything, no matter how unrealistic, what would your dream job be?” with “Running a space brewery.”

    1. more proof that the really hot ones are stupid, or just plain uncool.

      1. The fact that this is what blew it did help mitigate the disappointment.

    2. Batman.

      1. Also acceptable.

    3. Quality tester for medical grade cocaine

  7. Scotch Thread:

    Bought a bottle of Glenfiddich 12yr yesterday. Nice, affordable and smooth, a great intro to scotch.

    Any recommendations for favorite distilleries/batches?

  8. Only a matter of time before the first Liquor Store Holdup in Space.

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