Of all the great breakthroughs we’ve made in outer space, there are none sweeter than this: last month, astronauts on the International Space Station made chocolate chip cookies.
It’s the first time food has been made in space like this – they used pre-made cookie dough, because mixing ingredients in zero gravity would be complicated.
The real surprise, though, was the actual baking: while in many respects the process was similar to baking in an Earth oven, the chocolate chip cookies took much longer than the 10 to 20 minutes they usually need down here.
The astronauts only got their cookies well-cooked once they were in the oven for two hours.
Scientists are trying to find out why that is; it’s possible the zero-gravity oven work differently while in Earth orbit, for example.
They’re also going to test whether the cookies are safe to eat.
And to find out, these first cookies baked in space became the first cookies to be flown back down to Earth on a rocket.
In space, humans need an air supply.
That’s also true for divers, and a new device called the Exolung can keep that air flowing for virtually as long as a diver likes.
The tank is connected to a buoy on the water’s surface, and the diver’s movements essentially power the device and fill both it – and the diver – with air.
Space-baked cookies not chips off old block (The Columbian)
Sugar cookies decorated to look like rocket ships, stars, moons and the NASA logo. (Tammie L-B via Flickr/Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/cbABQY)