January 22, 2018

'Bake in Space' Experiment Aims to Make Crumb-Free Bread on ISS

14 June 2017, 02:51 | Kevin Scott

'Bake in Space' Experiment Aims to Make Crumb-Free Bread on ISS

'Bake in Space' Experiment Aims to Make Crumb-Free Bread on ISS

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). Living and working at the bottom of the ocean mimics the microgravity (or harsh) environment astronauts experience in space.

"Baking where nobody baked before", the team behind the Bake In Space experiment quipped. Now, Sebastian Marcu, founder of Germany-based company Bake In Space, is aiming to make bread available for astronauts in space.

He continued by noting that for NanoRacks, this agreement marks a broad milestone: the public start of the company's commitment to bring about cost-efficient, commercial space stations via re-purposing in-space hardware. Bread has been banned ever since - tortilla wraps are the accepted alternative. Late past year, astronauts ate the first veggies grown on the International Space Station. Although this means future space stations could essentially be built out of free junk floating around in orbit, it requires more work in the way of enabling robotics to corral those pieces up and put them together, along with installing essential life-support systems that can turn these old pieces of metal and burned off fuel into livable spaces. "Bake In Space seeks to address the scientific and technical challenges relating to the production of fresh bread in space".

Before the shuttle missions, NASA still allowed astronauts to carry bread in microgravity but only in pre-cut, bite-sized cubes that were coated with gelatine to keep any crumbs from floating away.

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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.

The Bake In Space experiment will try to produce "typical" weekend German bread rolls using a compact, low-energy convection (or possibly vacuum) oven and a special dough that produces a palatable, but crumb-free bread. For instance, food like bread and cookies that crumble when eaten is avoided in space. "Besides a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness and is an important psychological factor".

Bake In Space will test various approaches on board the ISS during the European Space Agency's Horizon mission in April 2018. "It is a symbol of recreational time and procedure down on earth".

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