Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are about to take delivery of goods from a Dragon capsule following another successful rocket launch by SpaceX at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday.
This particular 6,400-pound delivery contains a bundle of science experiments that include a number of live mice. But the astronauts probably have their mind set on something else that’s been packed inside the capsule. Something cold, sweet, and really rather tasty. Something they don’t get much of in space. We’re talking ice cream!
The unmanned Dragon cargo ship is currently on its way to the ISS and is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday morning. It’s then that all hell could break loose on the space station as the crew scrambles to get at the freezer containing the icy treat.
Packed into 30 small cups, the ice cream flavors include chocolate, vanilla, and “birthday cake,” presumably that particular one is for newly arrived American astronaut Randolph Bresnik, who turns 50 in September.
Deliveries to the ISS of regular ice cream (not that nasty freeze-dried “astronaut ice cream“) doesn’t happen every day, so the current space station crew are in for a real treat. So long as they like ice cream, that is.
By coincidence or design, there’s also another kind of ice cream heading to the space station aboard the Dragon. It’s actually a scientific experiment called the Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass, which NASA is calling, ahem, “ISS CREAM.” See what they did there? The three-year experiment will measure the charges of cosmic rays, with the collected data helping researchers with the “fundamental questions about the origins and histories of cosmic rays, building a stronger understanding of the basic structure of the universe,” NASA said.
The last time we heard of ISS astronauts getting excited about food was when they tried some lettuce back in 2015. No, the excitement didn’t come from their overriding love for the leafy green vegetable, but instead because if was the first food to be grown and harvested right there on the space station. The lettuce-based meal was part of ongoing research to find ways for astronauts to grow food in space so that they can sustain themselves on future missions into deep space. It’s not clear if NASA is working on an ice cream maker.
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