On Tuesday, July 8, Buzz Aldrin — American astronaut, engineer, and the second person ever to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 moon landing — hosted an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit.
Aldrin, who would like to be known as a “lunar ambassador” and “global space statesman,” answered user-submitted questions about the experience of being on the moon (“There is no place on earth as desolate as what I was viewing in those first moments on the Lunar Surface”), whether or not he watches movies about people going to space (yes, and he loved Gravity), and his favorite flavor of ice cream (coconut).
Luckily for us, someone also had the good sense to ask Buzz Aldrin about astronaut food. Specifically, “Does actual astronaut food taste as bad as the novelty stuff we can randomly buy in stores?”
Here’s Aldrin’s response (formatted slightly for clarity):
“I think it has been very selected and prepared for long duration trips in a partial atmosphere and in zero gravity, where a can of peas or rice or whatever would pretty soon be all over the cabin!
“In The Simpsons I played a role where I opened a bag of popcorn and it was all over the place. Bart Simpson said "No no no! Don't open that!"
The taste was generally pleasant. But it was mostly freeze-dried so we had to add water to the container and let it set — and around the instrument panel and other parts of the spacecraft, we had certain places we had Velcro so we could attach things so we wouldn't have to hold onto each one or have it float around the cabin.
“We had to use a water gun to send water into the plastic bag with the freeze-dried food. Now later on, things got much better and they were more like TV dinners that I remember — I don't see too many these days — as long as the food has some stickiness to it, it won't float around, but if it is like M&Ms, that are used in training with zero gravity, they're all over the place, and so would water form into spheres and float around in the cabin!
“So the crewman has to be very careful about adjusting to a lack of gravity sensation. We had very small shrimp that had a little bit of cocktail sauce, and when exposed to water, were very, very tasty. But you wouldn't want a shrimp an inch long floating around the cabin!”
There you have it.
Read Buzz Aldrin’s full AMA on Reddit.