Posted by: Ticktock | June 11, 2009

A Museum Favorite… Astronaut Ice-Cream

Space… the final frontier for freeze dried Neapolitan ice-cream, or at least that’s what your local museum WANTS you to think.

The kids and I are members of the Museum Center. We rarely visit the gift shop for treats when we’re there, but I was feeling generous today. Sasha picked out the forever popular vacuum sealed bag of dehydrated “astronaut” ice cream. Can you picture the men and women on the International Space Station divying up dry shards of the vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate dessert?

OK. It’s time for another trivial investigation. Have astronauts ever eaten the kind of freeze dried ice cream popular in gift shops?  The answer is yes, but… it was a LONG time ago. The only time that freeze dried ice-cream has ever been eaten in space was way back in 1968, and the astronauts weren’t even keen on it.

The Whirpool Corporation did in fact develop the ice-cream for NASA, so the association between freeze-dried ice cream and astronauts is tenuous at best if you ingore the fact that the product hasn’t been in space for forty years. If you want true space ice cream just kick back and have the real deal because astronauts don’t mess around with freeze dried these days. They eat the real stuff.

Thinking about astronaut ice-cream made me think about other products marketed as NASA approved. That’s right, you guessed it – Tang, the delicious orange powder mixed with water. I have a fond memory from my childhood of a fox sneaking out of the woods and drinking warm Tang from my cup while I sat by a campfire in the Appalachian Mountains. Even then, we’d all comment on Tang being a favorite of astronauts.

So… is Tang a favorite of astronauts?

You’d have to ask the one’s who were on the NASA Gemini missions. They famously took Tang to space to cover the acrid taste of water created as a byproduct of the life support module. And if you’re drinking a “Buzzed Aldrin” with the Skepchicks, you can nerdily tell them that Buzz denies having Tang on the mission where he first walked on the moon.




  1. Interesting article. I’ve never really thought about if the astronauts actually ate the stuff.

    My question is, how is this ice cream related to DipnDots? I’ve never had them in the mall, but I’ve always assumed that it was the same stuff.

  2. I believe Dip n’ Dots are frozen by liquid nitrogen instead of dehydrated, or at least that’s what I remember from a very special episode of ‘unwrapped’.

  3. I can’t disagree more TickTock Tang is foul and nasty! I don’t care if is sustained Hercules during his toils it’s gross, as is freeze dried ice cream. Honestly I never personally thought it went into space or if it did it was a gimmick.

    • Tang in my memory is delicious, but my adult taste buds would probably hate it. I haven’t had Tang in years.

  4. My memory is of a sweat tinglier a scientific breakthrough fall us kids to enjoy. But I had it a few years ago and like an old fave pixie sticks, my first reaction was one of revulsion.

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