They were launched into space in November 2019 and March 2020, respectively, as part of experiments conducted by the launch of the European Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU).
The mission, called Mission Wise, is exploring ways to develop “a new way of planting trees on Earth and growing to feed more people on Earth.”
Vines are analyzed to see how they change over time in space, where the effects of microgravity and higher radiation exposure on Earth accelerate genetic change.
Scientists will then compare them to specimens that still exist in the world, with the aim of adapting vines to grow in harsh environments.
Experts will also taste 12 Bordeaux bottles to see how they affect their time in space.
“Space Cargo Unlimited will examine how space radiation and microgravity affect wine ingredients during the aging process,” the company said in a statement in November 2019.
Researchers believe that wine and grapes are “the best educational materials” to assess the future of agriculture as climate change continues to alter growing conditions.
Researchers say that woody trees, such as vines, are very important in feeding the human population, but they have never studied in space.
“This could be a game changer for tomorrow’s farm,” said Michael Lebert, SCU’s chief scientific officer.
Planned future experiments include measuring the impact of soil conditions on bacterial and fungal pods, SCU said.