Astronauts will soon bake the first cookies in space
Pushing what is possible in the boundaries of space travel, NASA is working tirelessly to make the International Space Station (ISS) “more hospitable”. How you ask? By baking cookies in space.
NASA’s very own Zero G Kitchen – responsible for creating astronauts’ food, has teamed up with Hilton’s DoubleTree hotel chain. Together it is hoped that the world’s first cookies can be baked on the ISS.
To achieve this feat firstly a space oven needs to be sent into space. Surprisingly, at no point in history has an oven ever been in space, instead astronauts often have ready-to-eat food or food you heat up with warm water.
The space oven was launched into space on November 2 and was sent along with 3,700kg (8,200 lbs) of other cargo, including scientific equipment and replacement supplies for the NASA crew.
The space oven will arrive at the ISS and along with cookie dough provided by Hilton’s DoubleTree, will create the first ever example of baking in space. Hilton itself has called the light-hearted experiment a "landmark microgravity experiment" according to the BBC.
Another aspect of baking in space is that no one really knows what shape the cookies will come out as, this is because there’s no gravity to push the cookies down into a disc shape.
Other recent firsts for space travel:
NanoRacks, the company responsible for making the oven explained that:
"What are we actually going to see when this happens?" Mary Murphy, the senior internal payloads manager at NanoRacks, told Space.com at a pre-launch science briefing on November 1. "We really don’t know," she added. Space.com added that the cookies could turn out any weird shape including spherical or cylindrical.
The experiment itself is being hailed as the first instance of baking in space. Cookies in space is an unusual thing to see for one major reason – crumbs. Crumbs, while little more than an annoyance on earth, are a big problem in space.
NASA itself explains that throughout space travel history, “crumbs had to be prevented from fouling instruments.” It’s uncertain at this time what formula or technique Hilton has used to avoid this issue.
Hilton’s partnership isn’t as surprising as you may think. In fact, Hilton envisioned a ‘Lunar Hotel’ way back in 1958. As it sounds, this was hoped to be the first hospitable and luxurious hotel on the moon. Hilton has said however that “this news [the cookies] brings that dream [the Lunar Hotel] closer to reality.”
The justification for the experiment is that NASA wants to test what impact high heat and zero gravity have on the shape and consistency of cookies reports the BBC.
Cookie dough and an oven is far from the most unusual things to go where no man has gone before.
Time magazine has complied some of the most eye-brow raising things to make it beyond our atmosphere. These items include a golf club in 1971, a Buzz Lightyear toy in 2008, Luke Skywalker’s (actual) lightsabre in 2007, and even some records with Mozart on to be found by aliens in 1977.
The oven and cookie dough, along with other supplies is expected to reach the ISS by November 4.