I wrote this for the magazine Lahar. I think it is getting produced next month. Or this month. I was thinking about whether or not I should put this up because of the publication. However, I think the 'readership' of this website and the readership of that publication do not intersect.
I was only allowed to use 2500 characters and that was an interesting exercise. I would've waffled on for a while longer had it not been for the limitation. It was interesting.
There is actually a company called Baked in Space. Here is their website: http://bakein.space/. What a crazy time to be alive. They are planning on baking the first space bread by 2018. The company is based in Bremen, Germany. They are going to send up a special oven that is designed specifically for the ISS. It bakes over a long time, slowly heating up then cooling down, to not let out any hot air pockets into the ISS. They will have the bread on board, to finally achieve that elusive goal: to eat a proper sandwich is space. It is a long way from the Corned Beef Disaster of 1965*. In fact, once they have achieved bread they will return that specifically grown yeast culture back from the ISS back to Earth so that you too will be able to bake and eat space bread. So, if you have little to look forward to then there is that, I guess.
Well there you go, waffle.
- The Egg Party
by The Egg Party
The opening shot of the video is of a few strands of brown hair floating over the crown of a head. A digital watermark for the International Space Station is on the bottom-right of the screen. The head moves back and the top half of an older astronaut comes into view. He is wearing a navy shirt tucked into brown cargo pants, his gaunt physique accentuated by the taut material. Reading from a tablet in his hand, he speaks to the camera.
‘Hello! This is the Eric Answers Show, recording onboard the ISS. Today we have viewers spaceturbation77 and bakingtometal asking,’ he looks at the screen, ‘“do astronauts have sex in space?” and “can you bake in space?”’
He pauses for a moment before looking up.
‘The first is easy. NASA’s vague code of conduct states, “astronauts maintain...professional standards in... relationships in both work and social environments”. No sex. I disagree with the policy. All biological concepts need to be studied so we can venture further into the universe. But that’s me.’
‘Next,’ he says, pushing off and floating to the back of the room.
‘I present,’ slapping a hand on a large metal box, ‘the Space Oven, courtesy of Baked in Space®. Flown up in 2018, it was designed for space-based food experiments. It also simulates home comforts. As we travel away from Earth, we need these homely reminders. The smell of baking is a welcome pleasure.’
He scratches his left nostril with a thumb and pointer.
‘Today I’m going to bake a cake. This,’ he holds up a sealed container of creamy liquid, ‘is the batter. The oven’s main problem is moisture loss. When putting a bun in the oven, you need a lot of lubrication.’
He injects the bag with a syringe and, shaking the mixture, goes on.
‘As the cake grows it will form into a sphere. Weightless presents many unique opportunities. This is the future of baking, unburdened by gravity.’
He opens the oven and, releasing the batter, guides the blob within the hole.
‘Background music is important so during baking I’ll put this one on for user, bakingtometal.’
“Stargasm” by Mastodon plays as the video speeds forward, the camera focusing on the cake rising outward. There is a metallic ding as the image goes forward in time, switching back to Eric, the finished cake spinning in front of him.
‘Look at this glorious cake planet, ready to eat. Amazing. We can do great things if we continue to explore. Thanks for watching.’
A splash screen for Eric Answers, with the image of the star holding two thumbs up, ends the video.
*The Corned Beef Disaster of 1965
The discussion on board the Gemini 3 in relation to bringing bread into space:
Grissom: What is it?
Young: Corn beef sandwich.
Grissom: Where did that come from?
Young: I brought it with me. Let's see how it tastes. Smells, doesn’t it?
Grissom: Yes, it's breaking up. I’m going to stick it in my pocket.
Young: Is it?
Young: It was a thought, anyway.
Young: Not a very good one.
Grissom: Pretty good, though, if it would just hold together.
Young: Want some chicken leg?
Grissom: No, you can handle that.