FRESHLY baked bread and its comforting aroma* are Earthly luxuries astronauts have had to give up in space, but that could soon change.
German company Bake in Space is working with the German Aerospace Centre and food scientists from other organisations to formulate a dough and oven for use on the International Space Station (ISS).
The inventions will be tested on a mission next year.
Packaging and food in space have improved greatly since space travel began but with astronauts now taking longer missions, preparing and growing food is preferable to taking ready-made meals from Earth.
Access to fresh food would also be more enjoyable for astronauts and tourists, according to Bake in Space founder Sebastian Marcu.
“As space tourism takes off and people spend more time in space we need to allow bread to be made from scratch,” Mr Marcu told New Scientistmagazine.
One of the biggest hurdles for scientists working on the project will be creating a crumb-free product.
In 1965 two NASA astronauts on-board the Gemini 3 mission ate a sandwich they smuggled in, with dire* consequences.
Crumbs flew into the air and were at risk of getting into the astronauts eyes or the electric panels.
Flat tortilla wraps have been the only acceptable bread product since then.
The oven will play a role in making the roll a success, according to Matthias Boehme who is developing oven technology on the project.
He is attempting to alter a convection* oven and is also exploring vacuum* baking.
“According to our baking experts, the process would also make bread rolls more fluffy,” Mr Boehme said.
The team will test a variety of approaches on the ISS in April 2018.
Bake in Space presented the project in Manchester at the UK Space Conference last week.
convection: heat transfer and circulation
vacuum: space where there is nothing
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Activity 1. Best thing since sliced bread!
Many astronauts will welcome the news that they may soon be able to make fresh bread in space.
What would be some of the challenges of baking bread and growing food in space?
What are the advantages of being able to grow and prepare food such as fresh bread in space?
Are there any disadvantages?
Why was eating a sandwich in space such a dangerous activity?
What other foods would be dangerous to eat?
Extension: I’m craving a …
Imagine you had been in space for 12 months and had only been able to eat ready-made meals – what do you think you would be missing the most?
Write a list of 10 foods you would like most when you get home.
Time: allow about 30 minutes to complete this task
Curriculum links: English, Science
Activity 2. Space tourism
Space tourism is increasing.
Design a spacecraft with the main purpose of taking tourists into space.
What will your spacecraft include to make space travel more comfortable for your guests?
Make sure you include an engine room, a bridge*, rooms for the crew and for the guests, ways to keep the guests entertained, an observation area (to see outside), cooking facilities, bathrooms etc. Remember in space there is lower gravity than on Earth.
* bridge – the area for the crew to steer and control the ship.
Advertise your space tours by creating a flyer.
What are the ‘selling points’ of your tours?
How long do they go for?
How much do they cost?
Why should people choose your spacecraft over another one?
Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Design and Technology
(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)
Replace the quotes
A big scandal is brewing at Kids News! It has been discovered the reporter has misquoted the dialogue within the article.
Luckily, you have the real quotes recorded and can send them to us!
Replace all the dialogue in the article with your own.
You can be as creative, funny and clever as you like!
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP
Activity provided by Andrell Education www.andrelleducation.com.au