It’s a nice reward for making it through a
long day of traveling. And soon – perhaps by October – astronauts heading to
the International Space Station (ISS) will be rewarded with fresh baked cookies
Plans are in place to launch Doubletree cookie
dough into space as part of a payload heading for the International Space
Station. The dough will then baked on route inside a special prototype oven
created by Zero G Kitchen, a company
determined to create kitchen appliances for use in space.
Why cookies? Well, it seems scientists
were looking for way to make space more welcoming and realized Doubletree’s
cookies are something that already connotes ‘welcome’ to millions of travelers
here on the ground.
Zero G Kitchen and NanoRacks, a company that provides commercial access to space, have worked up a cooking technology that adheres to NASA safety standards. The test oven is fully built, it has passed all three phases of the rigorous NASA safety review and has been handed over to NASA for launch.
Transportation for the cookies and the test oven will be aboard one of cargo flights that regularly supply the International Space Station, either on a SpaceX Dragon or a Northrop Grumman Cygnus.
Zero G Kitchen chefs aren’t completely sure
what temperature the dough will need to be heated to, and for how long, once
it’s in space. But the chefs say they’ll be in contact with the astronauts
throughout the process for feedback on baking time and temperature,
launch date has been set yet, but the team is working with NASA to confirm the
exact ISS payload it will be a part of – possibly in October.
Sounds right that chocolate chip cookies should be the first things baked space. Once they have the technology down, though, what should they cook next?
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum has launched “Apollo at the Park,” a project that will place 15 replica statues of Neil Armstrong’s iconic Apollo 11 spacesuit in major league ballparks across country.
National Park in Washington, D.C. got its statue this week.
Here are the rest of the team parks where statues will appear this summer at part of Apollo at the Park.
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays
What’s the connection between space and baseball and that photo above? According to the Smithsonian:
“In the late 1950s, workers at the U.S. Naval Air Material Center in Philadelphia took to a makeshift field in some interesting uniforms — B.F. Goodrich Mark IV spacesuits. The game was staged as a flexibility demonstration for the spacesuit. The final score of the baseball game is unknown, but the Mark IV would evolve to become the original Project Mercury spacesuit, a definite home run!“
And for stats fans, the National Air & Space Museum offer this:
*A ballpark stadium seat is roughly the same size at the Apollo 11 seat that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins sat in for three days on their journey to the moon.
*The Apollo 11 landing site, Tranquility Base, and the lunar area that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored is roughly the size of a baseball diamond.
What will the airport of the (near) future look like? I’ve got a story in the current issue of AFAR that lays out that scenario. Here are some of the highlights.
Photo -by Harriet Baskas
Your face is your ticket
Get ready for single-token travel. A facial scan and an initial look at your passport is already all you need at some airports.
Smart(er) security lanes
Time-saving, stress-busting security checkpoints will soon be universal. Improved technology speeds up the bin-loading process and allows TSA officers to scan carry-ons quicker and find bags containing prohibited items in a flash
Food and merchandise comes to you, wherever you are in the airport. OTG’s tablet-centered ordering and grocery-style self-checkout lanes are expanding, as are app-powered mobile delivery services such as Airport Sherpa and At Your Gate, already on-duty at the Baltimore, San Diego and Newark airports.
Where’s my bag?
Lost luggage is a bummer. But more bags arrive as promised thanks to airports that employ tools such as radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and monitoring apps to track bags from the time they’re accepted at the airport to delivery at the bag claim.
Find your car – and an open restroom stall
High-tech lighting systems guide travelers to open spaces in giant airport parking garages and direct home-bound passengers to lost cars. Airport restrooms are high-tech too, with occupied/unoccupied signals over the stalls and technology that alerts maintenance teams to lavs that need cleaning.
Count on cryptocurrency.
Australia’s Brisbane International led the way by letting travelers pay for purchases with cryptocurrency. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport followed with kiosks that exchange leftover cash for Bitcoin. Count on airports, the first and last city stop for international visitors, to embrace digital currency as its popularity rises.
Airport cities offer milk, medical facilities and more
No longer ‘just’ transportation nodes, airports are branching out with full-service grocery stores, medical facilities, movie theaters and entertainment centers. The observation deck at Incheon Airport’s new Terminal 2 offers virtual reality experiences, while Singapore’s Changi Airport 10-story Jewel complex (opening 2019) promises the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.
Go to Miami – or Mars
As space travel and space tourism moves closer to reality, some airports plan to double as spaceports, so travelers can set out across an ocean – or out of this world.
What features are you hoping pop up at the airport of the future?
The giant complex houses the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, an IMAX theater, a Rocket Garden and lots more.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center also has a great gift shops.
Here are some of the favorite items I found, including astronaut pens, t-shirts featuring dogs and cats dressed for space, shuttle key rings, NASA mugs (of course) – and lettuce seeds for when people land on Mars and need to start planting food for the future.
Have you been to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center? Tell us about your favorite exhibits- and the cool souvenirs – you found there.