Champagne to pop in outer space zero gravity

French champagne house MUMM has been thinking ahead, to a time when space travelers might want to enjoy some bubbly on their extraterrestrial voyages.

This week, a group of journalists took off from the French champagne city of Reims in a specially equipped Airbus Zero-G plane operated by the European Space Agency to enjoy a few 20-second spurts of weightlessness to sip champagne at zero gravity.

Paris designer Octave de Gaulle, related to the wartime leader, designed a bottle with two chambers to open in different sections to avoid the champagne bursting out across the spacecraft.

An aluminum strip forms a ring over the top of the bottle to prevent the foam from exploding all over the cabin.

"Then you rotate the bottle and the foam sphere is released," he said during an interview in his workshop. Guests can then float, capturing the spheres of champagne.

Out of this world

The art of drinking champagne in zero gravity appears to require some training. Floating inside the spacecraft, drinkers have to scoop up the wine with small, long-stemmed glasses more reminiscent of an eggcup than a champagne flute.

The experience is apparently delightful, according to astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy. It's apparently even better than the experience of drinking champagne on earth. "It's really magical because the champagne lands not just on your tongue but on the palate, the cheeks — the gastronomic sensations are magnified," he mused.

jm/rc (AFP)

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