In 1965, two astronauts, John Young and Gus Grissom, smuggled a contraband corn beef sandwich on board their spaceship, the Gemini 3 mission.
As they tucked into their food, potentially-dangerous crumbs escaped around the space station (damn you, microgravity), and ultimately left American Congress none too pleased with the pair, having taken the prohibited products into space.
Since the stunt over fifty years ago, NASA astronauts have never been able to eat fresh bread in space. That is, until now.
NASA acknowledges that the culinary options available to astronauts on long missions are limited; not least because they often have to be served coated in gelatin to stop crumbs floating around and becoming lodged in buttons and electrical panels.
But now International Space Station (ISS) visitors could be treated to freshly baked bread. This is as a project is in the works to create a new oven and type of dough mixture that could be taken into those conditions.
‘Bake In Space’, which was first announced back in March this year, is currently in the process of developing a type of German bread roll that would mean those on long missions – to the moon or Mars – could produce food after takeoff.
Rather than just eating their way through stockpiled ready-made space meals.
Sebastian Marcu, from ‘Bake In Space’, told New Scientist: “As space tourism takes off and people spend more time in space we need to allow bread to be made from scratch.”
The bread would need to be able to not crumble, but also not be tough or chewy, as this makes it unpalatable and ultimately redundant.
On their website the organisation say they are addressing the scientific and technical challenges of baking fresh bread in space.
Explaining: “Besides being a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness and is an important psychological factor [for astronauts].”
‘Bake In Space’ is now on the official list of experiments for Alexander Gerst’s upcoming mission in 2018, which launches in May and they hope Gerst will take the first prototype into space.
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