Ice Cream for an Astronaut
I remember in elementary school going to a museum in New York City that had an awesome planetarium. I remember how the chairs tilted back so you could be fully engulfed by the enormous sparkling universe above. I remember the way the voice came over the speaker lulling me into some sort of trance between awake and dreaming, drifting off into the void.
Isn’t every kid obsessed with astronauts at some point? They may have the coolest job ever, literally out of this world. (sorry)
I loved the movie space camp as a kid and then found Gattaca as a young teen (great movie). Apollo 13 is also happens to be one of my favorite movies. The theme that ties all of these together is astronauts. I have always wanted to know what that feeling of weightlessness was like. How cool it must be to blast off strapped to a rocket (hard core) towards the heavens. Floating through tunnels while floating through the universe. How cool would it be to escape this planet and explore?
The requirements are intense. I could never be an astronaut, not in this lifetime anyway, not with these math skills. Only the most qualified and physically fit for the job are allowed in space. Before you even step foot into the program you must have a master’s degree in a STEM field and at least two years of related professional experience or at least 1,000 hours piloting a jet aircraft.
You also need to pass a whole host of physical tests on your mind and body. If you are in the small pool of humans who pass these tests, you then begin your two years of grueling training to maybe have the slim chance of getting a spot in a shuttle that actually makes it to space.
Another fond memory from my childhood was getting to try astronaut ice cream for the first time. I LOVED IT and I became obsessed asking my mom to buy it at the store. This was a time before the internet (yikes I’m really dating myself here!) and this astronaut food was only sold in select planetariums. It wasn’t until I was a college student that I realized it was just freeze dried cream, egg whites and food coloring.
I found this cool graphic from howtocook.recipes that shows all the different types of food that astronauts from around the world eat. I didn’t realize that the first food eaten in space by an American was a tube of apple sauce by astronaut John Glenn 1962. You can also see my favorite listed here on the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, the first time that tricolored treat was introduced!