A team of researchers have decided to ‘bake were nobody baked before’. Sometime in 2018, a microgravity oven is slated for launch to the International Space Station where it will bake the first space-grade bread in history. As anything on the International Space Station, this won’t be your regular bread. Designed and inspected from all scientific angles, the space bread will not only be filling and fresh, but also safe for the special environment.
Why is this such a Big Deal?
Some 50 years ago, according to New Scientist, two astronauts sneaked a corned beef sandwich on board NASA’s 1965 Gemini 3, and without gravity, the bread crumbs went wild. They could have harmed the astronauts—getting into their eyes, for example—or caused a crash by ruining the electrical panels or starting a fire. And bread has been banned from spacecraft ever since.
Led by founder Sebastian Marcu, the team is determined to develop a crumb-less bread that astronauts can not only eat in space, but bake there, too.
There is something about the aroma of fresh baked bread that has the ability to make one feel completely at home and this is one feeling that can greatly ease the living conditions in the space station.
As the team explains online, “besides a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness. … It is a symbol of recreational time and procedure down on Earth.”
So, they’re creating a “typical weekend German bread roll” that can be baked and enjoyed—danger-free—on the International Space Station. And it should be ready to pop into a specially-made oven in time for a April 2018 mission to the station.