According to CBS News, U.S. astronauts will soon be able to make a sweet treat in outer space. The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, which is used to deliver supplies to the team living on the International Space Station, took flight on Saturday. Among the 3.5 tons of research tools, satellites, and supplies that astronauts need to fulfill their missions, the rocket also carried a baking essential: an oven. The compact oven, which was developed in collaboration by Nanoracks and Zero G Kitchen, is the first of its kind to make a trip to the space station.
Getty Images/ Esther Chou
But why is the oven making history? Because it will allow for the very first batch of cookies to be baked in space, and astronauts will now know whether or not baking is possible in their gravity-defying environment. "When you bake here on the ground, you put the cookie on the tray, the bottom is flat and the top is a little bit curved based on the ratio of your ingredients," said Mary Murphy, Nanoracks engineer. "But obviously, nobody's done this in space, so we don't know exactly what it's going to look like."
Astronauts won't be churning out dozens of cookies at a time, though. Per CBS News, the oven, seen above, only allows for one cookie to be baked at a time. There is also uncertainty about what the cookies will look like once they are finished cooking—particularly when it comes to their shape. "It could come out more like a cylinder, it could actually create a sphere," Murphy said. "We really don't know, and I think that's one of the more exciting things we'll find out."
The team living at the space station also won't be able to customize their treats just yet. The DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton supplied the dough for the interstellar chocolate chip cookies, so everyone will have to make due with this classic variety. "Everyone loves cookies," Murphy said. "There are some preferences between types of cookies, but the vast majority of people, I think, are really on board with the chocolate chip."