One topic I get asked about often regarding long duration trips in space is food. If astronauts are away
from home for 6 months, like when they are on the International Space Station (ISS), or for around 2
years, like most crewed trips to Mars will be, eating something besides dehydrated food would certainly
boost crew morale.
And because of this, DoubleTree by Hilton has teamed up with Zero G Kitchen and NanoRacks to bake
the first food item fresh in space! Astronauts on the ISS are going to bake the DoubleTree chocolate chip
cookie – something they’re known to give out at check-in – in a prototype oven called the “Zero G
Kitchen Oven” later this year. Beyond looking cool (see below), the oven was designed with the goal of
making long-duration space travel more comfortable for astronauts… and any space tourists in the
upcoming years! If we’re lucky, that might just be you or me baking cookies and other food in space…
Now I know this might sound simple… but it’s not! The oven that was concepted by Zero G Kitchen and
developed by NanoRacks is actually pretty advanced. Things in microgravity don’t function the same as
they do here on Earth. For instance, convection isn’t really possible since heat doesn’t rise like it does
here, so this new oven will cook using electric heating elements similar to a toaster oven. Again, this is
the first time this will ever be possible.
So, how’s the oven actually going to bake the cookie in space? Glad you asked.
The DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie will be held in place on a tray while baking occurs at 177 degrees
C (350 degrees F). There’s a cooling rack integrated into the outside of the oven and additional
insulation/venting that allows it to be safe to use on the ISS (read: it’s passed all of NASA’s rigorous and
sometimes lengthy safety reviews).
Zero G Kitchen is working with NanoRacks to actually develop the unit and install it this year on their
Frame 3, which is currently located in the U.S. Destiny module on the ISS.
Alright, so you might be thinking: why exactly is DoubleTree by Hilton going through all of this and
what’s it really have to do with the ISS?
Well there’s a few factors at play here. First and foremost, as mentioned, DoubleTree by Hilton is well
known for offering a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie on check-in, which has always been a nice (and
sweet!) bonus for me as a tired and road worn traveler. And can you imagine getting to eat that cookie
after 8 minutes of 3Gs of acceleration and up to two days rendezvousing with the ISS? Yeah, I think the
DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie is about to be even more welcoming than ever!
All of this is awesome, but I think my favorite tie is when I learned that during the Space Race, Hilton
wanted to try and create the first lunar hotel. Today, with this amazing cookie and oven experiment, this
dream actually comes one step closer to reality. Who would’ve thought: a cookie helping make that
If you want to learn more about the launch of the DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie into space later this
year and the technology behind the oven, come ask me questions in the comments!
You can also check out http://www.CookiesinSpace.com or http://www.newsroom.hilton.com/cookiesinspace, and get involved on
Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by tagging @DoubleTree and using #CookiesinSpace.
This article was sponsored by DoubleTree by Hilton.
Written by Tim Dodd – the Everyday Astronaut