When taking on the position of an astronaut, it is important to expect the unexpected when exploring the vastness of outer space.
For example, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) probably didn’t initially expect to conduct an experiment that would answer the question “What will a cookie baked in space look like?”
However, that is exactly what they did after successfully baking the famous DoubleTree by Hilton chocolate chip cookies.
The unique experiment was the product of a partnership with Zero G Kitchen, proprietors of the first space oven, Nanoracks, a leading provider of commercial access to space, and DoubleTree by Hilton.
Hilton’s involvement makes the hotel brand the first hospitality company to participate in research aboard the ISS. Highlights of the experiment were captured aboard the ISS and are available to view here.
The process took several days with ISS Commander Luca Parmitano baking the DoubleTree cookie dough one at a time in the prototype oven. Fellow crew members watched over the progress.
The average DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie bakes in a convection oven for 16-18 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit on Earth but, with no cookie recipe specific for space, the process had to take some trial and error.
We made space cookies and milk for Santa this year. Happy holidays from the @Space_Station! pic.twitter.com/sZS4KdPmhj
To determine the best baking conditions in space, the astronauts were instructed to the bake time for each of the five cookies; the first four were baked at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, while the fifth cookies was baked at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. After baking for 25 minutes, the first cookie was still under-baked. The second cookie was also under-baked after sitting in the oven for 75 minutes.
Astronauts agreed that the fourth and fifth cookies were the most successful, after baking for 120 minutes and 130 minutes respectively. They also found that the shape and consistency of the cookies were about the same as they would be on Earth, despite the zero-gravity environment.
Three of the cookies were sent back to Earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, where food science professionals will be able to determine the final results of the experiment. Ultimately, the goal is to help scientists further future efforts to make long-duration space travel more hospitable. DoubleTree by Hilton plans to preserve the cookies where visitors can view them and learn more about this experiment. They have also offered to donate one to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where it is being considered for collection.
Learn more about the baking experiment and the technology behind the oven by visiting www.cookiesinspace.com and www.newsroom.hilton.com/cookiesinspace.
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