Next year, astronauts on the International Space Station will be tasked with their tastiest mission to date: bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
It’s unlikely that space agencies are particularly interested in figuring out how to bake dessert, as Popular Science reports that all the experimental batches will immediately be sent down to Earth for analysis. But the lessons learned while sorting out the challenges of baking in microgravity could also apply to future missions — in which astronauts could need to fabricate their own tools and perhaps even transplantable organs.
The inherent silliness of space cookies, much like space beer and coffee, is a PR rep’s dream. With an oven made by collaborating companies called Zero G Kitchen and NanoRacks, and a cookie recipe — and bizarre PR statement about orbital hotels — from Hilton’s DoubleTree, PopSci reports that the whole endeavor is probably a bit of a publicity stunt.
But that doesn’t make it worthless — the orbital bakers will experiment with a modified oven where individual cookies will bake inside pockets that hold them in place. Getting the cookies to resemble something baked on Earth, and preventing the leftover particles of ingredients from creating problems with other space station equipment, are both important puzzles to solve.
And hey, maybe someday when they perfect the recipe, NASA will actually let the astronauts take a bite.
READ MORE: Yes, astronauts are baking cookies in space. No, they can’t eat them. [Popular Science]
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