How Astronauts Made Space Cookies
Wed, April 14, 2021

How Astronauts Made Space Cookies

 

Astronauts have to accomplish multiple tasks and responsibilities when they are in space. However, their jobs can be very difficult at some point--isolating and lonely. Thus, astronauts have been finding ways to bring a bit of Earth to the International Space Station (ISS) as a source of comfort. For instance, they have successfully been growing plants aboard. “There’s a great deal of joy in growing and watering the plants and producing a flower,” ISS Chief Scientist Julie Robinson said. 

 

Photo Credits: All That's Interesting

 

Last year, the astronauts were able to make space cookies and milk for Christmas. The premade dough used to bake the cookies was provided by Hilton’s DoubleTree hotel chain, popularly known for their to-go cookie treats dispensed at every location. The ingredient arrived at the ISS on the Cygnus capsule after three days. According to the hotel spokesperson, the event was a “landmark microgravity experiment” meant to make long-duration space travel “more hospitable.”

 

Photo Credits: All That's Interesting

 

The astronauts successfully baked five cookies using a custom zero-gravity oven, a cylinder-shaped, insulated container designed to bake goods in an extreme environment like that of the ISS. The device has the ability to steadily hold the food while it bakes and later cools it on a built-in cooling rack. According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, the temperatures needed for baking are generated via electric heating components because microgravity makes convection difficult.

 

Photo Credits: All That's Interesting

 

However, the astronauts weren’t able to taste the cookies because they weren’t allowed to eat them. Thus, the cookies were sent back on Earth for analysis. This new activity is not only part of NASA’s attempt to figure out the impact that high heat and zero gravity have on the shape and consistency of baked goods but also a way to offer both psychological and physiological benefits to the astronauts.

 

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