Question number one...can you cook in space? Question number two...did they really bake chocolate chip cookies on the International Space Station?

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You apparently can and they did.  The cookies looked more or less normal, but required two hours of baking time last month on the International Space Station. To bake the same cookies on Earth takes under 20 minutes.

And how do they taste?

We don't know yet because they are sealed in individual baking pouches and remain frozen in a Houston-area lab after splashing down two weeks ago in a SpaceX capsule.

They were the first food baked in space from raw ingredients.

The makers of the oven used for this experiment expected a difference in baking time in space, but not that big.

“There’s still a lot to look into to figure out really what’s driving that difference, but definitely a cool result,” Mary Murphy, a manager for Texas-based Nanoracks, said this week. “Overall, I think it’s a pretty awesome first experiment.”

Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano was the master baker , baking the cookies one by one in the prototype Zero G Oven.

The first cookie — in the oven for 25 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit (149 degrees Celsius) — ended up seriously under-baked. He more than doubled the baking time for the next two, and the results were still so-so.

The fourth cookie stayed in the oven for two hours, and finally success.

Additional testing is required to determine whether the three returned cookies are safe to eat.

Another first...he astronauts could smell the cookies when they removed them from the oven.

“The reminder of home, the connection with home, I think, can’t be overstated,” Massimino said. “From my personal experience … food is pretty important for not just nutrition but also for morale in keeping people connected to their home and their Earth.”

Eating something other than dehydrated or prepackaged food will be particularly important for future trips back to the moon and on to Mars.

(WIVB-TV)