First 'space cookies' return to Earth

The International Space Station is home to many important experiments, but as Space.com reports, one of the pinnacles of space science came in December 26, 2019, when NASA astronaut Christina Koch reported on Twitter that the ISS team had successfully baked cookies in space. This, of course, is amazing. Cookies in space! Or rather, cookies that were in space: On January 7, 2020, the cookies successfully made their way to earth aboard the SpaceX Dragon. 

There might be an air of "news lite" around this cutesy-seeming story, but rest assured it's far from a fluff piece. The astronauts weren't just goofing around or indulging in clever wordplay when they decided to make some space cookies. They were actually testing a brand new zero G oven, which is the first oven that's specifically designed to work in microgravity.

The strange science of cookies in space

A reliable zero gravity oven could be a game changer in the way ISS residents eat, so whatever information we can learn from the first brave space cookies could be hugely important — at least for astronauts who have hitherto been forced to spend extended amounts of time in space without the precious, precious taste of freshly baked cookies. The baking process was somewhat different to the cookies most people make in their earth homes, as they were baked one at a time, using premade chocolate chip cookie dough. The astronauts reportedly didn't get to eat any, so one knows yet what they tasted like. In fact, even their exact shape is not yet public knowledge — you can't quite make it out from Christina Koch's picture, and there are speculations that cookies baked in microgravity could be significantly puffier than earthbound ones, perhaps even completely spherical. There are other, pressing questions that need answers, too. Did the baking process fill the ISS with that delicious "cookies in the oven" smell? Did Santa Claus finally visit the station now that its crew was able to lure him in with the proper traditional offering of milk and cookies? The world must know!

Luckily, DoubleTree by Hilton, the hotel chain behind the cookie dough, has promised to provide full details once they've analyzed the space-faring baked goods. We just hope that they remember to save the astronauts a bite.