Bread, Moon, & Gravity

Bread, Moon, & Gravity

Early astronomers, mistaking the basaltic plains of the Moon for water, named them maria, Latin for seas. There’s Mare Crisium, Sea of Crises; Mare Ingenii, Sea of Cleverness; and Mare Cogitum, profoundly, the Sea that has Become Known. There are also lunar “lakes”—Lake of Summer, Lake of Autumn, but also Lakes of Sorrow, of Softness, of Forgetfulness—not to mention Bay of Roughness and Marsh of Epidemics and Lands of Manna. 

Manna on the Moon. Like an island wafer amidst these raging seas. 

Bread of heaven indeed. 

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Turns out, whole grains are a thorn in a baker’s side. Germ and bran soak up water, add weight to a dough, hinder its rising capacity, and sometimes result in a loaf too dense to enjoy.

So water content is key. With white flour, the agreed-upon “baker’s percentage” of water to flour is 60%. With whole grain flour, it’s more like 105%– though sometimes up to 130%. 

In the words of legendary baker and grain expert Dave Miller: “You’re always fighting gravity with whole grain.”

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The Moon’s gravitational field is full of anomalies, bullseye craters hiding an excess distribution of mass, altering local gravity above and around them. In 2012, twin probes Ebb and Flow orbited the Moon in tandem, mapping variations in the gravitational field and giving precise measurements of the lunar crust. Imagine ancient blows resulting all these years later in the Moon’s should-I-shouldn’t-I discretion, the way wounds make us wary.

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During the Apollo 11’s radio blackout, aboard the Eagle lunar lander, Buzz Aldrin said a prayer and took communion— a small piece of bread, a small vial of wine. 

“In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup,” Aldrin wrote. The sacred crumb of God’s body rested on his tongue in a moment where man reached back toward heaven.

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