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Whisky in space! Japanese distillery sends booze to space station

We want to believe in whisky that's out of this world.

Japanese distillery Suntory plans to send five kinds of whisky to the International Space Station to mellow via microgravity. Amazon

Does whisky taste better in a galaxy far, far away? Or perhaps it gets mellower when it's stored in space? Japanese distillery Suntory wants to find out through a science experiment using the International Space Station.

This month, Suntory will be loading up the Kounotori 5 transfer vehicle -- due to launch from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Tanegashima Space Center on August 16 -- with five kinds of whisky (along with 40% ethanol) to mature for a few years on the International Space Station.

Tokyo University's Institute for Solid State Physics, Tohoku University's Institute of Fluid Science, the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute and the Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences are all excited to see if a microgravity environment at a space station can affect alcoholic beverages, specifically the mellowing process, according to Suntory's press release.

The whisky experiment will be conducted on the International Space Station's Japanese Experiment Module nicknamed "Kibo." This is the same module where there happens to be a lonely robot called Kirobo. I kind of hope the adorable robot channels his inner Bender from "Futurama" and has a few shots of the space whisky.

While sending whisky in space to be tested for taste differences may sound more like a sci-fi movie plot waiting to happen, this isn't the first time a beverage company tested the effects of near zero gravity on booze.

In 2011, vials of Ardbeg Scotch whisky were sent to the International Space Station for similar reasons.

"The vials contained a class of compounds known as 'terpenes.' Ardbeg was invited by US-based space research company NanoRacks LLC to take part in testing these micro organic compounds in a maturation experiment (the interaction of these compounds with charred oak) between normal gravity on Earth and micro-gravity i.e. space," according to the Ardbeg website.

While I have yet to taste test Ardbeg's space Scotch, it's exciting to see distilleries try new things with their products, especially if it means creating the kind of alcohol that would be perfect to celebrate the return of " The X-Files" to television.

I want to believe that space makes for a better shot of whisky. Here's hoping we get a taste of Suntory's space whisky before the aliens do.