Published On: Fri, Dec 27th, 2019

Cookie Monster’s nightmare: Astronauts bake very first Christmas cookie aboard ISS… but won’t be able to eat it

The astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have baked a cookie in zero gravity for Christmas but scientists deem the treat too important to be simply consumed aboard.

NASA’s Christina Koch posted a photo of herself and Luca Parmitano, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency, with a freshly-baked cookie floating in zero gravity.
“We made space cookies and milk for Santa this year. Happy holidays from the @Space_Station!” she wrote. The treat appears to look no different from the ones made on Earth.

However, the ‘space cookie’ won’t make its way on to a Christmas table, but into the freezer and will remain sealed before being sent to Earth for further analysis. Making it was part of an experiment to test out the oven, which was delivered to the space station in early November.
The small cylindrical ‘Zero G Oven’ can heat up food up to 363.3 degrees Celsius (685.94 Fahrenheit) and bake only one cookie at a time. According to NASA, all food has to be sealed tight “due to the potential risk of producing crumbs.”

Parmitano said he got a chance to try several ‘sample’ chocolate chip cookies, which were baked a week before Christmas when astronauts were figuring out how to properly operate the oven. The very first ‘sample’ came out doughy, but the latter tasted nice, he said, as cited by the Verge.

The baking experiment is crucial for long-duration missions, since “fresh-baked food could have psychological and physiological benefits for crew members,” NASA stated.   

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