Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Astronauts didn't eat astronaut ice cream

Any space-enthused kid has endured the crumbly, chalky agglomeration of flavors known as "astronaut ice cream." We deal with it because of the supposed connection to the lives of real space explorers.

The only problem is that astronaut ice cream is a lie. ...

Apollo 7 is identified by Wikipedia (and most other sources) as the only flight to harbor the chalky ice cream.

When I asked astronaut Walt Cunningham, the sole surviving member of the crew, about it, he said, "We never had that stuff." ...

That matches with the complete absence of ice cream from mission transcripts as well. ...

That fits with the technical obstacles to space ice cream — as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explained (along with Buzz Aldrin and many other astronauts), crumbly food like astronaut ice cream would be a major hazard in space. ...

That might be what makes astronaut ice cream so disconcerting — it teaches kids that something terrible for space travel is what astronauts eat. If kids want to eat astronaut ice cream, they should just enjoy delicious, real ice cream, as real astronauts have many times since the 1970s, when refrigerators became available in space.
--Phil Edwards, Vox, on the lies we tell our kids