Filipino scientist helps make cooking in outer space possible

By on October 9, 2014

Photo of Arquiza with the galley. Photo taken from Cornell University.
Photo of Arquiza with the galley. Photo taken from Cornell University.

MANILA, Philippines – Apollo Arquiza, a 45-year-old Filipino scientist, helps develop the first ever low-gravity space galley, a device which will enable astronauts to cook in zero gravity aircrafts.

The postdoctoral research associate said that the prototype cooking device, which is the first recorded in history, allows astronauts to freely cook in Mars or the moon without having to be concerned about their ingredients and oil droplets floating away when they stir-fry.

“No one in the world has ever done anything like this before,” Arquiza said in an interview. “Even daing [dried fish] can now be fried, if there’s a Filipino aboard the spacecraft.

Through the application of modern-day technology, practical research, and a series of rigorous testing, the Cornell University team, which Arquiza is a part of, was able to unveil the device early this year.

The team headed by Jean Hunter, assistant professor and director of undergraduate programs at Cornell’s College of Biological and Environmental Engineering, has started the project in 2011.

To assess the effectiveness of the galley, the team boarded a G-Force 1 space simulator aircraft and sautéed tofu and potatoes in a frying pan. The experiment was described to be a bit messy but it aided to improve their design for even better future terrestrial and extraterrestrial cooking technology.

The device basically looks like an ordinary oven enclosed in a giant stainless metal box.

This breakthrough will help improve the health conditions of astronauts who usually eat pre-packaged and freeze-dried food. It is part of a NASA-initiated manned mission to Mars in 2030.

With report from Cyra Moraleda