Astronauts aboard the International Space Station recently baked cookies. They baked five chocolate chip cookies almost 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Astronauts baked cookies as they tested and used an oven. Although the result of the experiment was partially successful, cookies took a lot longer to bake in space than on Earth. Reports suggest cookies took nearly two hours of baking time. On Earth, the baking time for cookies is roughly around 20 minutes. This was the first time when an eatable item was baked in space using raw food materials. Scientists are now trying to figure out what exactly is driving the difference in time for baking cookies in the space.
The ISS cookies returned to Earth in the first week of January aboard a SpaceX-built spacecraft. No one has tasted the cookies yet. The cookies remain frozen in a Houston-based laboratory. The oven used by astronauts to bake cookies was designed by American company Nanoracks. The dough for cookies was supplied by Hilton DoubleTree hotels. The oven makers said they observed some stunning difference in the baking time in the ISS. They were surprised to see that the baking time difference was so large. The photo of the cookies was made available by American astronaut Christina Koch. She along with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano posed for a click holding a packed cookie and shared the picture on Twitter.
The baking tray was designed especially to work in microgravity conditions. All five chocolate chip cookies were frozen when they were sent to space. Each cookie was baked separately in the oven. The first cookie was under-baked when it came out of the oven after 25 minutes at 149 degrees Celsius. The next two cookies stayed in the oven for 50 minutes but were still not baked. The fourth cookie was left inside the oven for two hours. This time, it was baked. The fifth cookie was kept in the oven for 130 minutes and the temperature was raised up to 163 degrees Celsius. It produced the best baking results. The International Space Station orbits at approximately 400 kilometers above the Earth.