Most of us have heard of, if not tried, “astronaut ice cream” – that Neapolitan-colored rectangle with the consistency of chalk and the flavor of flavored chalk. I remember getting the strange dessert from no less a source than NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as a child (though I also remember getting a toy Space Shuttle and I haven’t seen that thing in decades). But apparently there’s at least one group that’s never eaten astronaut ice cream: actual astronauts in space.
Questions have swirled around the legitimacy of astronaut ice cream as an actual space food for some time, so Vox’s Phil Edwards set off to investigate whether or not the supposed space-age treat had ever made it outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. After searching the documents, meeting with a museum curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and speaking with astronaut Walt Cunningham who was actually aboard Apollo 7, supposedly the only mission to include the freeze-dried ice cream, it appears the answer is no, no astronaut has ever eaten astronaut ice cream in space.
That does not mean astronaut ice cream wasn’t developed with the intention of sending it into space; it just never made it. Maybe astronaut ice cream started smoking pot in high school and failed all its science classes. Don’t end up like astronaut ice cream did, kids.