Astronauts living on the International Space Station have managed to make pizza from scratch in zero gravity. So how is making pizza in space different from making pizza on Earth?
ISS astronauts show off their finished pizzas.
Nearly anything done in zero gravity is probably quite a bit more complicated than anything done on Earth, where everything naturally falls to the ground. However, that hasn’t stopped the astronauts on the ISS from doing something that can actually be quite simple on Earth, but is likely more complicated on a space station.
The residents of the ISS released a video of them having a zero gravity pizza party, but these aren’t those ready-made frozen pizzas that you just pop into the oven. The astronauts made the pizzas from scratch, with ingredients flown up by a commercial supply ship. Almost immediately, the crew set to work assembling the flatbread, cheese, pepperoni, olives, anchovy paste, pesto, olive oil, and, of course, the tomato sauce.
Watch the astronauts on the ISS have fun making pizzas. [Video by NASA Johnson]
So why pizza? 60-year-old Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who also carries the distinction of being Europe’s oldest astronaut, had “casually mentioned” to his crewmates that he missed having pizza. Thus, NASA sent Nespoli and his crewmates the ingredients for the pizza, which arrived on a rocket launched by the company Orbital ATK.
The video from the ISS showed the individual pizzas gently floating, rolling, and tumbling around in zero gravity, as the crew members had a whale of a time sending the pizzas rolling off to one another. One crew member even sent off a pizza to a crewmate without the toppings falling off. Cleanup will certainly be a bit easier, because if you’re putting the fixings on a floating pizza, then there’s no counter space to mess up. Of course, having your pizza float away as you’re putting anchovy paste on it may be a little frustrating.
Randy Bresnik, the crew’s commander, called the pizzas "flying saucers of the edible kind." Bresnik obviously immensely enjoyed the experience. He adds, describing the pizzas: "The IPDS (Intergalactic Pizza Devouring Squad) says 12 thumbs up!"
Both Nespoli and Bresnik are part of the Expedition 53 team, so named because it’s the 53rd expedition to the ISS. The team members are studying how to produce fiber optic material in space, how rodents are affected by conditions in space, and cosmic rays as well.
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