Astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) are preparing to take a little bite for humans, but a huge bite for cookies when they first bake cookies in space.
Food is usually not cooked on the ISS, but rather rehydrated or warmed up for consumption. But thanks to the brand new technology – and a number of ready-made cookie dough – the space station gets its very first freshly baked goods before 2019 comes to an end.
The exciting innovation is not only a treat for the men and women who will also eat the cookies: former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, 56, told DailyMail.com that it is also a fascinating scientific experiment in the way baking works differently in microgravity.
A little snack for humans … Later this year, astronauts on board the International Space Station are baking a cookie for the first time in space
Just call it a rocket chip cookie! DoubleTree by Hilton sends the cookie dough, which is baked in a specially designed oven built by Zero G Kitchen
Until now, food in the room was either dehydrated (and then rehydrated) or pre-cooked and shelf-stabilized – meaning that astronauts could warm up slightly but not make it fresh.
NASA's Mike Massimino on how space's digestive system changes
& # 39; Your digestive system is a bit different in space, & # 39; Massimino told Dailymail.com.
There is a little motion sickness during the first day or so, he explained, and then it's a matter of food moving through the body.
& # 39; Gravity helps our food get through our system. So that's not going to work so well in zero gravity, & he said.
& # 39; My first flight we were encouraged to eat dry fruit and it would help you.
& # 39; My second flight, we were working closely with the Russians at the time, and they were using supplements such as Metamucil. So we would do things in advance and follow a normal cycle. And that helps. & # 39;
That is all changing with a special oven built by the male-female team Ian and Jordana Fichtenbaum from Zero G Kitchen in collaboration with DoubleTree by Hilton.
Their oven is designed to bake cookies in the room, which is expected to be a completely different experience than cooking here on earth.
First, there is a natural air movement on this planet that does not exist in space and must be recreated. And in micro gravity, cookie dough floats around the inside of an oven if it's not held in place – so custom baking trays had to be made.
But now that obstacle has been invented, astronauts will have freshly baked cookies in circulation for the first time in history – and Massimino says it's a big problem.
& # 39; A cookie is a reminder of home & # 39 ;, said the former NASA astronaut during a launch event on Wednesday.
& # 39; Eating is more than just living. It is also a way to share time and experience with the people around you. And it also leads to a feeling of high morality when you enjoy your food. & # 39;
The expert: Former astronaut Mike Massimino, the first astronaut to tweet from space, spoke about the innovation with DailyMail.com
To infinity and beyond! Massimino went on two space flights, in 2002 and 2009 (photo). In 2002 his crew made a record for space walking and in 2009 he sent the first tweet from space
Massimino insisted that space food is actually not that bad – in fact, he said he was one of only two astronauts that he knows has arrived in space.
His favorites were shrimp cocktail and macaroni and cheese, although he also loved Italian staples such as lasagna, ravioli and tortellini.
Giving kick-like dishes with some extra Tabasco sauce – also helped with the taste, as astronauts get a little stuffy in the room and compromise their sense of smell and taste.
As for dessert, there was always sweets such as M & M & # 39; s and bite-sized Milky Ways on board, as well as a supply of bitter biscotti that Massimino himself brought.
& # 39; We have pudding, we have chocolate fudge cake. And we can be like an apple flapper. Usually the stuff needs some kind of wetness & # 39 ;, he told DailyMail.com.
But freshly baked cookies on board will certainly be a game changer.
& # 39; I don't know how many cookies will be available there, but I think this will be a special treat. It will certainly be something the crew is looking forward to, & he said, noting that even the smell of baked goods will be exciting.
Sweet micro gravity! The special cookie oven that is sent to the room can bake one cookie at a time and has a special cooling rack that fits two cookies
Ask the experts: Massimino said the cookies & # 39; a special treat & # 39; but also said that the scientific experiment of baking in space will be interesting, especially when it comes to their shape
& # 39; You smell things … you mainly smell each other. So I think this will be a nice difference, & he said.
Freeze-dried astronaut ice: yes or no?
Visitors to the NASA visitor center gift shops, science museums, and even Disney World are perhaps familiar with this treat, a Neapolitan ice cream bar with all the sucked out moisture.
But Massimino says real astronauts don't touch it.
& # 39; I will never eat that & # 39 ;, he told DailyMail.com. & # 39; I had to taste it once on a children's program – if you are over 10, I don't think you can eat things like that. I find it disgusting.
& # 39; I don't know of any astronaut who ever ate it. I don't know where it comes from. But none of us will eat that. & # 39;
But the innovation is not just for the pleasure of the astronauts, it is also – as most things are in space – a scientific experiment, because no one knows how anything else can bake in micro gravity with artificial convection.
& # 39; How will a baked good behave? What shape will it be? Will it taste the same? & # 39; he asked, speculating whether a cookie might end up puffer or spherical than on earth.
& # 39; So it's interesting because it contains a piece for scientific education, and also the comfort element for hospitality of your being, & # 39; he added.
& # 39; We have done a lot of research into bone loss, muscle loss and changes in physiology. All the experiments that we have have a payout, but you cannot eat them! & # 39;
The experiment also marks something of a milestone for the Hilton brand, which first became involved in the idea of space travel more than 60 years ago, when Conrad Hilton announced plans to build a hotel on the moon in 1958.
Space sugar: astronauts usually eat rehydrated or precooked and heated food. For dessert they had candy, pudding, chocolate fudge cake, and apple cobbler
A decade later, his son Barron insisted that the 100-room underground Lunar Hilton Hotel – complete with piano bar and observation dome – be built in his life.
While that out-of-this-world idea never comes true, the brand is now officially making its way to space – via its cookie dough – by partnering with Zero G Kitchen and NanoRacks, a provider of commercial access to space.
And while this project is yet to be completed, Massimino is already considering the next food step, which, as far as he is concerned, is figuring out how to cook pizza in a job.
He admitted that on his last mission he even ordered pizza while he was still in the room so that it would be delivered to his hotel room as soon as he landed.
The former NASA astronaut admitted he didn't mind eating & # 39; food that you could pack and bite & # 39; like hamburgers and sandwiches.
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