We covered an article about how food in space has gone through transformation. However, the food choice is still quite limited up there at space and we do feel sorry for the astronauts, who have to live with the pre-prepared and pre-packaged foods. Like how do they even manage? European Space Agency probably felt the same way for astronauts and has started supporting the work being carried out at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, where chemists are busy experimenting deep frying in space, so that it can be made possible.
Cooking in space is next to impossible because of the absence of gravity. Even the physics of heat distribution will betray you, since it gets completely bizarre in the space. For example, take a simple procedure of making coffee. You won’t even be able to mix water and coffee. Both would simply float and that’s about it. And if you’re thinking of using fire for cooking, then rest assured you would end up being the reason why your workstation went ka-boom. Fire does not take its usual shape once again, thanks to the absence of gravity.
Here’s another fact for you; it is quite difficult to simulate absence of gravity. Hence, the chemists decided to go in the other direction. They carried out experiments in enhanced gravity – take Jupiter – and observed how the increase in gravity affected the cooking of French fries. They key element that was observed was how the oil reacted with more gravity acting on it. The heated oil basically rises due to convection and in increased gravity this process becomes quickened.
The way this increased gravity was achieved was peculiar as well; a deep fryer with oil and potato strips was attached to a centrifuge and it was spun at a high RPM to simulate increased gravity. Chemists kept a record of the temperature of crust of French fries. The result is the finding that cooking at a gravity of 3g will result in optimum French fries that are also quite yummy to eat.
By making use of this information, the research team is hoping to work with less gravity and find out how cooking can be performed in such environment. With all the Mars colonization being planned, who knows when the famous food brands decide to move to space? This research would be quite handy at that time indeed.