Tuesday, 10 October 2017

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Winemaking on Mars

Tory Shepherd and Jamie Seidel,
News Corp Australia Network September 29, 2017, 4:56am

One of the world’s most famous scientists, Brian Cox, was asked if he would go to Mars.

“If the conditions aren’t right to grow wine … I might not want to go there,” he said.

But he could get lucky. One day, grapevines could grow on the planet.

Clare Valley winemaker Muster Wine Company has set up a new brand called Mars Needs. Unexpectedly, owner David Muster received an email from US company Explore Mars Organisation to talk about the possibilities.

They hosted a tasting of their earthly wares in Adelaide on Thursday night.

Mr. Muster said his label was inspired by Shiraz and David Bowie.

“I was sitting at home one night and I had this really good Clare Valley Shiraz that didn’t quite fit the Muster label. But it was compelling fruit,” he said.

“ ... there was a song from Skrillex, and on the front was an alien face, then there was Ziggy Stardust, and Spider from Mars.”

So the idea was born, with the concept of a wine for a different world with new frontiers. Mr. Muster says he’s been discussing it with Chris Carberry from Explore Mars.

“There are no nutrients in the soil. That red soil would be iron-rich, low fertility, and ancient, a bit like some of those red soils in the Barossa,” he said, adding that the two agreed that at first, the wine would probably not be great.

A Whole new area has opened up for South Australian wine exports — and it’s literally out of this world.

SA is positioned to offer a range of services from recycling water to building satellites, and Space Industries Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith has also talked up our ability to develop space food.

NASA and others have experimented with Martian farming techniques, as they try to work out how to feed astronauts on the way to Mars, and when they get there.

No word yet on if they plan to breed Martian cows to make Martian cheese to go with the Martian wine.

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