I’m a fan of finding new and interesting ways of cooking things. That’s why a recent posting from Popular Science is setting the idea wheels in motion. The PopSci Web site answers the question: If You Dropped a Corn Kernel From Space, Would it Pop During Re-Entry?
Unfortunately, the answer is mostly inconclusive:
If an astronaut were to throw a watertight kernel out of that space shuttle moving at 17,000 mph, would the kernel reach hot enough temperatures to pop as it flew through the atmosphere? It’s possible, says Kenneth Libbrecht, a physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, but he can’t run the numbers to say for sure, because no one has measured how much friction a kernel generates when it moves through the air.
We need to get the boys (and girls) in the lab working on this one right away. If possible, this sets the stage for a revolution in meal preparation. All cooking is is the addition of heat to food, and one could harness this for a profit.
Don’t go stealing this, but here’s the idea: When the Space Shuttles have outlived their usefulness, send them up to space as orbital kitchens. You want a pizza? Chinese Food? Roasted chicken? Just call and the chefs in the shuttle will put the ingredients together and just drop it into orbit so your meal lands on your roof. And probably crashes through, destroying your house.
On second thought, maybe they should just stick to finding out whether ants can sort tiny screws in space.