gelato spoonsHow many times have you been in a museum or planetarium gift shop and come across the so called “astronaut ice cream,” a brick of dried neapolitan material supposedly reminiscent of what astronauts might enjoy for dessert? Kids around the world with an interest in space adventures might be disappointed at the news this week that this “ice cream” is largely a myth -- and, not ice cream.


The evidence? Vox produced a video called “Astronaut Ice Cream is a Lie” that walks the viewer through the case. The company that manufactures it doesn’t make any claim to its authenticity, and an actual astronaut from Apollo 7 agrees that “we never had any of that.”

What Exactly is That Stuff?
“Astronaut” ice cream is dehydrated (freeze dried) ice cream -- it can be kept at room temperature and is much lighter than typical ice cream. Dehydrated foods were popular options for space travel since they helped reduce the weight of food without reducing the caloric value. While it was developed by a company with a NASA contract, the ice cream never actually made it on board.

Researchers have explained that the crumbly texture would actually be impractical for space travel (the crumbs can float into flight instruments, even if you eat it carefully with gelato spoons) and, in fact, astronauts today eat the same sort of ice cream you do.

How Ice Cream Stores Can Make Ice Cream Space-tastic
Did you know that the average American eats ice cream about 29 times a year? There’s more than one way to combine ice cream and a love of space travel. Consider, for example, making a “galaxy themed” ice cream to commemorate an astronaut related day, such as June 20, the moon landing. It's also the month when the most ice cream is produced in the U.S.!

Combine a very dark ice cream (chocolate with blue food dye, for example) with white and yellow sprinkles for stars, galactic frosting swirls, and candy pieces for planets. Paper ice cream cups can be customized to fit the theme. Custom ice cream cups are also useful because they can serve as advertisements for your company to anyone walking down the street.

About 90% of the U.S. regularly enjoys a frozen treat, whether it's eating sorbet with gelato spoons or classic ice cream. Don't torture yourself with fake astronaut ice cream anymore -- it's not the real thing!