An Israeli moon lander crashed yesterday, but some of its contents, including the queso recipe, may have survived.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated April 12, 2019
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Yesterday was a tough day for moon travel. An Israeli spacecraft known as Beresheet that was hoping to execute the first privately-funded soft lunar landing crashed into the surface of the moon during its final touchdown attempt. As a result, the moon lander will not be able to fulfill its intended mission of photos and experiments; however, let’s keep our fingers crossed that not all of the spacecraft was destroyed — because it also contained a damn good recipe for queso.

Included aboard Beresheet was the “Lunar Library” — part of a project from the Arch Mission Foundation, a group with the goal of archiving all of human knowledge permanently in space. The Lunar Library specifically is described as “millions of documents laser etched in microscopic analog form on a radiation-proof nickel Nanofiche disk.”

As you might expect, that archive includes obvious choices like thousands of books and all of Wikipedia, but the Arch Mission Foundation also extended an offer to some important individuals to include documents of their choosing. Among that group was Austin Mayor Steve Adler, and his choice: “a copy of the original, authentic, and never-before-published Kerbey Queso recipe from Kerbey Lane Cafe.” Kerbey Lane Café has long been an Austin institution — recently popping up on a list of the city’s most popular late night eats.

“We choose to send queso to the Moon — and maybe someday chips as well, not because these things are easy, but because they are hard,” Mayor Adler stated at the time of the spacecraft’s launch. “The challenge to eat queso in zero gravity is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, among other key challenges, like next time remembering the chips.”

Whether the crash landing destroyed the Nanofiche disk is apparently unknown. According to the Houston Chronicle, Kerbey Lane Café lamented on Facebook, “Ok, so it *crash* landed, but we are still so proud to have been a part of this historic event!” However, the site Sky & Telescope suggests the Lunar Library “may have made it intact to the surface.” At this point, assessing the damage to these “dime-sized disks” all the way from Earth seems pretty difficult. But maybe some future astronaut will be able to visit the wreckage in person. If that astronaut has all the ingredients to make queso handy, all the better.