New Delhi: A proper square meal is hard to come by and relish for astronauts who spend months of their time in space, aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
While their dining experience is something that many of us would like to indulge in, it goes without saying that it is not even close to normal and is just a part of the numerous list of challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.
Come 2018, however, all that may just be about to change for the better. A German company has offered to serve baked bread to astronauts in space to help them satisfy their 'earthly' cravings.
It may sound normal, but bread comes with crumbs, which may float around the space station, infiltrating the expensive and not to forget, crucial space equipment, which could be concerning.
With Bake in Space – an experiment that aims to create crumb-free bread for astronauts – the German company hopes their unique recipe and oven will create a mess-free version of the goodness that everyone can enjoy without the fear of imminent death.
The experiment will include ingredients and equipment for a German bread roll – which astronaut Alexander Gerst, who's heading to the ISS in April 2018, will carry with him.
In addition to providing an alternative to dehydrated astronaut food, Bake In Space hopes to provide our friends in space with a taste of home.
"In order to improve astronauts' well being on long-duration missions such as on a Moon base or on Mars, food plays an essential key role," the company wrote on its website. "Besides a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness and is an important psychological factor," Gizmodo reported.
"I feel like baking anything in space would be really awesome," New York-based baker Miranda Bucciero told Gizmodo. "I do mostly cake decorating so the concept of trying to frost a cake in space is really cool to think about (and would probably be really funny to watch) but brownies would probably work the best – the dense fudgey/chewy type of brownie."
According to the New Scientist, the first and last people to enjoy bread in space were the two astronauts on NASA’s 1965 Gemini 3 mission, who shared a corned beef sandwich one of them had smuggled on board. The crumbs flew everywhere in the microgravity and could have got into their eyes or into the electrical panels, where they could have started a fire. Bread has been banned ever since – tortilla wraps are the accepted alternative.
Bake In Space will test various approaches on board the ISS during the European Space Agency’s Horizon mission in April 2018. The team plans to control the entire baking process from the ground via video feeds from inside the oven – that way the astronauts won’t have to worry about burning their loaves on top of their other duties. To see how microgravity affects a finished loaf, initial batches will also use dough pre-baked on Earth. “Bread could have a completely different structure,” says Sebastian Marcu, founder of Bake In Space, the company behind the project, based in Bremen, Germany.