Scientists from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and experts from the European Space Agency (ESA) decided to test whether it is possible to fry potatoes in zero gravity. However, the results of their experiment were disappointing: the fried potatoes turned into an inedible mess of greasy potatoes and heated oil.
Why did this happen? Frying is a complex process that involves both physical and chemical processes. Some of them do not work in weightlessness. For example, the steam bubbles that normally appear when boiling water or heating oil on Earth cannot form in space.
In weightlessness, the vapor bubbles cannot move freely-they stick to the potatoes and form a layer of vapor that protects the potatoes from the high temperatures. As a result, the oil just heats up and the potatoes stick to the pan and don’t fry.
However, scientists are not giving up and are looking for ways to solve this problem. Engineers from ESA have developed a special apparatus for frying in weightlessness. Products (in our case, potatoes) are poured in oil, spices are added, and placed in a special chamber that begins to rotate, creating artificial gravity.
At this time, the container heats up, and the steam bubbles begin to work just as they do on Earth. The result is the usual frying process. Thus, scientists have found a way to solve the problem of frying in weightlessness.
In addition, the study of frying in space can lead to advances in various fields, from traditional boiling to the production of hydrogen from solar energy in microgravity, notes the head of scientific work John Liumbas.
Thus, scientists continue to investigate various aspects of life in space, including the process of frying food. Their research could lead to new discoveries and advances in various fields of science and technology.