Vermont maple syrup spotted in space - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont maple syrup spotted in space

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A Vermont maple syrup producer got a sweet surprise when they saw their product in a very unlikely place.

Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville routinely ships its syrup hundreds of miles away, but this Green Mountain gold usually reaches its destination on trucks or planes, not rockets!

"We're defying gravity," said Emma Marvin from Butternut Mountain Farm. 

Photos were taken by a French astronaut and posted to Twitter. They show the International Space Station astronauts at meal time and among the row of condiments, there's a squeeze bottle of Butternut Mountain Farm's maple syrup orbiting the Earth nearly 250 miles away.

When Marvin saw it, she was over the moon.

"Shocked. Didn't know that it was necessarily real. Kind-of wondered if it was a hoax and then after doing some research to validate where the photos came from thrilled, I mean, how often do you get to have a direct connection with something in space," said Marvin. 

It isn't a case of "going where no syrup has gone before". Other astronauts have brought it in different packaging. But it's a first for this farm to have its label in zero-Gs. But does Grade A Robust lead to a sticky situation when there's no gravity?

The answer is rooted in science. When something is wet, like syrup, when it's squeezed out, the surface tension will cause it to stick to either the packaging, or the utensil it's put on. 

We asked how bottles made in Vermont ended up on the space station. NASA told us a crew member requested maple syrup and the Space Food Systems Laboratory selected this bottle because its design meant it would be safe to launch at the International Space Station.

For this mom who says the sweet idea came from trying to keep her kids from wasting syrup at the breakfast table, it's surreal but it makes sense.

"If you think about what traditional maple syrup packaging is, it's a jug or glass bottle. But in no gravity, how do you get the maple syrup out of the bottle? But in this case, you get to squeeze it out," said Marvin. 

She says Butternut Mountain Farm is the only one producing maple syrup in squeeze bottles. Marvin says they sell about 12,000 a month, far less than the traditional jugs and glass bottles, but she's hoping this out-of-this-world experience helps them catch on.

NASA could not tell us which astronaut lobbied for liquid gold. We asked if this syrup was going to become a staple on the space station. We're told it may be a one-time occurrence unless future astronauts request it.

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