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It wasn’t officially a field trip to the Boston Museum of Science until we had hit the gift shop and loaded up on space ice cream. Although to be honest, I don’t remember actually liking the taste very much.
Freeze-dried ice cream, also known as astronaut ice cream or space ice cream is a brick of dehydrated ice cream that is always ready to eat, with no need for refrigeration. It was developed by Whirlpool Corporation under contract to NASA for the Apollo missions.
Apollo 7 in 1968 was the only NASA mission on which space ice cream flew in outer space. According to a NASA food scientist, although it was developed on request, “It wasn’t that popular.” Skylab had a refrigerator that was used for real ice cream., and occasionally shuttle and International Space Station astronauts have enjoyed real ice cream.
Freeze drying (or lyophilization) removes water from the ice cream by lowering the air pressure to a point where ice shifts from a solid to a gas. The ice cream is placed in a vacuum chamber and frozen until the water crystallizes. The air pressure is lowered, creating a partial vacuum, forcing air out of the chamber; next heat is applied, vaporizing the ice; finally a freezing coil traps the vaporized water. This process continues for hours, resulting in a freeze-dried ice cream slice.
(via the Wikipedia Knowledge Dump)
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