With the space shuttle program drawing to a close, we can now examine in depth what kept it going for decades. While billions of our tax dollars surely helped, it turns out tiny bits of chocolate in a candy-coated shell have been the real fuel behind our modern space program. Yes, M&Ms were there on the first space shuttle mission in April of 1981, Mars Chocolate tells us, and they've been a part of every one since, right up to the final flight that's currently underway.
"We've been honored to fly on more than 130 missions with hundreds of American heroes over the last three decades," Debra A. Sandler, chief consumer officer of Mars Chocolate North America, said in a statement. "It's bittersweet to see this program, which has inspired millions to reach for the stars, come to an end, but we wish the crew of Atlantis a safe and successful mission."
Red, blue, and gray commemorative M&Ms with July 8, 2011 printed on one side and a rocket on the other them have been spotted figuratively floating around the CNET offices and are literally floating around the Space Shuttle Atlantis in zero gravity this week.
In addition to being included in NASA's space food system and finding a place on the menu of the International Space Station, M&M's are also part of a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute's National Air & Space Museum and have inspired at least one cool science experiment about how best to distribute glucose in zero gravity.
Now I guess we know why NASA hasn't made contact with extra-terrestrials yet. Everyone knows E.T. prefers Reese's Pieces.… Read more