Arguably one of the most exciting parts about visiting space museums as a child is dipping into the gift shop to score bags of the astronaut “ice cream.” If you assumed the frozen treat was the dessert of choice for all those folks up in the cosmos, you aren’t alone.
But it turns out that our childhood knowledge of space desserts is just one big lie. Vox investigated whether or not astronauts really took freeze-dried ice cream up into space, and the answer wasn’t exactly what we were expecting.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which houses artifacts from space trips, definitely doesn’t have any freeze-dried ice cream. When Vox asks museum curator Jennifer Levasseur to see the astronaut ice cream, she simply says, “we don’t have any.” Even astronaut Walt Cunningham, a lunar module pilot on Apollo 7, spoke on the (non)existence of ice cream in space, telling Vox it was all a myth. He explains, “we never had any of that.”
So astronaut ice cream was just a marketing ploy after all. But don’t let the lack of ice cream on spaceships in the past deter you from becoming an astronaut. Today, astronauts enjoy actual ice cream (not the freeze-dried stuff) in space, as well as Mexican-food essentials like burritos.