Food by VICE

Astronauts Can Soon Bake This 'Crumb-Free' Bread in Space

The Great Galactic Bake Off, anyone?

by Alex Swerdloff
Jun 12 2017, 8:00pm

Photo via Flickr user duncan_drennan

Do you think it's too late to try and get a Subway franchise aboard the International Space Station?

We ask because it turns out that scientists have developed a crumb-free bread, which means astronauts will now be able to bake bread in space. Finally! Next year, the new dough mixture, along with a custom-designed oven, will be tested on a German mission to the International Space Station.

With the prospect of longer space trips on the horizon—and space tourism—it's undoubtedly time to step space food up a notch. The Tang of yesteryear is gone from space missions, and with that departure has come the introduction of fresh food and improved ready-made meals in space.

At least that's what Sebastian Marcu, who founded a company called Bake In Space, is betting on. He had heard that bread posed a special problem in space: Back in 1965, two American astronauts had smuggled a corned beef sandwich aboard Gemini 3, and crumbs from the rye bread went bonkers in the micro-gravity environment. NASA quickly realized that a crumb to the eye of an astronaut could be problematic, or that even worse, a crumb in an electrical panel could cause a fire. Thus, NASA banned bread on all space missions ever since, and hungry astronauts with a yen for a sandwich have had to sate themselves with a tortilla wrap.

But, thanks to Bake In Space, crumb-free bread is now a reality. The company worked with the German Aerospace Centre and other researchers to create a bread sans crumbs—and one that tastes good to boot. Now, it will be possible to eat bread on board, and bake it, too, in a newly designed oven created by OHB System. As Bake In Space's website states, "The smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness and is an important psychological factor." The first bread in space since 1965 will be "a typical weekend German bread roll."

We're happy to know that astronauts will no longer be be subjugated by the oppression of crumby bread and will once and for all be able to boldly bake where no man has baked before.