Y'know "Astronaut Ice Cream
" that's a favorite at science museum gift shops everywhere? I shouldn't be surprised, but astronauts don't eat the stuff. Freeze-dried ice cream was on the Apollo 7 menu but apparently the astronauts hated it so much that it never made it on future missions. (The same outfit that makes the Astronaut Ice Cream also sell a Mission Pack Space Food Sampler
filled with other foods that astronauts probably don't eat.) The new issue of Smithsonian magazine examines the space food collection at the National Air and Space Museum, the place where, like many of you I'm sure, I had my first taste of "astronaut ice cream."
Like a kid’s lunchbox at the end of the school day, the collection Levasseur administers is in some ways a barometer of failed foods. That is, leftovers—freeze-dried packets returned to Earth, unopened and summarily rejected. (Three signature NASA examples are on offer here : beef-barbecue cubes, fruitcake and coffee with cream—unused from Neil Armstrong’s meal allotments, avoided during the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon he commanded in 1969.) “We have a lot of instant breakfasts,” (curator Jennifer Levasseur) says. “I get the feeling these were the kinds of guys who just woke up and drank coffee.” Foods transformed into totally unrecognizable forms also fared poorly—which may explain the failure of astronaut ice cream. “There was a ‘bacon bar’ that looks something like a granola bar,” adds Levasseur. “We have quite a lot of those.”
Conversely, there tend to be fewer of those items that did prove popular: hot dogs, spaghetti and meatballs, shrimp cocktail.
"Unpack a Meal of Astronaut Space Food
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