The first ever space-baked cookies have landed on Earth, but they haven’t yet been subjected to taste testing.
Astronauts on the International Space Station baked the chocolate chip cookies from raw ingredients for the first time ever, and discovered in the process that there is a significant difference in baking time between Earth and space.
While cookies baked on the home planet generally take under 20 minutes, the classic sweet treats took a whopping two hours to turn golden on the ISS.
Since they splashed back to Earth in January, the space cookies have remained sealed and frozen in a Houston lab, and make history as the first food baked in space using raw ingredients.
The master baker in the experiment was Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, who radioed descriptions of the process back to Earth as he baked the cookies in a prototype Zero G oven made by Nanoracks, one by one.
After the first cookie emerged after 25 minutes at 140 degrees Celsius severely underdone he kept trying by more than doubling the baking time for the next two, until he had some success on the fourth try at two hours.
The fifth cookie, baked at 163 degrees Celsius for 130 minutes also saw success, although more testing is needed to determine whether the space-baked treats are safe to eat.
The cookie dough used in the experiment was provided by the Hilton hotel chain, and is the same kind used for cookies offered to the chain’s guests.
One of the cookies has been offered to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum for display.
Nanoracks and Zero G Kitchen, a New York City startup that collaborated with the experiment, are considering more experiments for the orbiting oven and possibly more space appliances.
It is hoped that in time and with further testing, future astronauts will be able to eat something other than dehydrated or pre-packaged foods during missions.