Astronauts tend to spend lengthy periods of time in space, and though the views are tremendous, life can probably get a little tedious and repetitive, given the whole, ‘stuck in space without gravity’ thing.
Food can be particularly challenging in zero gravity. Most astronauts have to get very accustomed to freeze-dried foods and instant meals that don’t need refrigeration or cooking – even heating something up in hot water can pose a massive challenge. Astronauts can’t eat bread, for instance, because it expires quickly, and crumbs will fly everywhere. They’re forced to use tortillas instead.
Now, though, a group of German engineers and scientists are working on developing an oven which can be used in microgravity (which is almost zero gravity, but not quite). What’s more, they’re working on a special kind of dough that can be used to bake bread in space.
The company, Bake in Space, is even attempting to make sourdough yeast, for the hipster astronauts out there on the International Space Station.
The company is currently experimenting with recipes and testing for things like longevity and temperature, as well as how to make crumb-free bread. Another problem Bake in Space facing is that the oven will need to work with just 270 watts of power, around 10 per cent of a conventional oven here on Earth.
Bake in Space aims to create pre-made space bread first, followed by the oven, dough and yeast. They’re hoping to have the final product available by the end of 2018.
“On Earth, bread has always been a symbol of quality of life,” said Sebastian Marcu, CEO and founder of Bake In Space. “Bread always stands for friendship and well-being, and that’s what drives our project. If we want to go further into space, we need to create quality of life, and that’s why bread is really a stepping stone for human exploration of space.”
“To have something fresh, whether it is bread or whether it is vegetables, it would be wonderful.”