A new project by German scientists, engineers and science communicators plans to make baking in the International Space Station (ISS) possible with the help of crumb-free bread and a specialized oven.
The Problem With Crumbs
The project, dubbed as "Bake in Space," is considered by some to be an ambitious goal. Bread can be pretty dangerous at microgravity as crumbs floating around in space shuttles or the ISS could get into the eyes of the astronauts or cause damage to the equipment. Due to this, bread has been banned in space.
"As space tourism takes off and people spend more time in space we need to allow bread to be made from scratch," said Sebastian Marcu, founder of Bake In Space, in a report from New Scientists.
At present, astronauts living in the ISS are using tortilla wraps as an alternative to bread. Just like tortilla wraps, bread that is tough and chewy won't produce any crumbs. However, this kind of bread is also unpalatable. Due to this, the Bake in Space company and German Aerospace Centre is developing a new dough mixture that could yield a palatable crumb-free bread.
Aside from the special dough mixture, Bake in Space also needs to develop a special type of oven that could be delivered to and used by astronauts at the ISS. This oven should operate at 250 watts and have an exterior surface temperature not exceeding 45 degree Celsius.
One possibility researchers are looking into is vacuum baking. In vacuum baking, the pressure inside the oven is lowered. Lower atmospheric pressure could decrease the boiling point of water. This means the lower pressure inside the oven could bake bread at lower temperatures.
The initial concept of the Bake in Space project was made in October 2016. After proving proof that their project is feasible, the company, along with their partners, officially launched the project in May 2017. The company plans to launch their project to the ISS in June 2018.
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