Having read more than a few accounts of the first moon landing, I am often surprised by the off-hand treatment of the many ‘firsts’ that occurred. I read passages like ‘the astronauts ate their first meal and then…’
I would think the first meal eaten on an extraterrestrial body, even if it’s not a planet, would rate more than a passing mention. I’ll bet you most people would be at least mildly curious about what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate. Many are curious about space food and you may be surprised by the first food ever to be eaten in space.
The sources which do bother to give some details about the first moon meal get it wrong. I’ve seen references to sandwiches and beef stew, for example. Neither was included in the first meal on the moon.
The First Moon Meal
So what did Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin eat for their first meal on the moon?
What do we all love? What do we all want, right now?
Bacon, of course! Specifically, bacon cubes.
The full meal was:
- four bacon cubes
- three sugar cookies
- pineapple-grapefruit drink
Whether this meal had been pre-chosen is not clear. Bacon had long been available on NASA space flights, as far back as the Gemini missions. Regardless, bacon and coffee, it seems to me, is as fine a way to fuel up for the first spacewalk as anything else.
Although I am not sure of the exact time the two at this meal, it was on July 20, 1969, sometime between 4:17 P.M. (Florida time) and 10:56 P.M., when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. After the lunar module landed, and the historic words “Houston, the Eagle has landed” were sent to mission control, the astronauts inspected the spacecraft for damage, ate, and donned their spacesuits.
And here is where things get interesting.
The First Moon Meal was Not the First Food
According to Buzz Aldrin, the official schedule included a lot of downtime and preparation after the initial landing. Landing on the moon is not like taking a trip to the Grand Canyon. You don’t pull up, jump out of the vehicle and start snapping pictures. The mission allowed more time than was deemed actually necessary to get ready for the first lunar walk. It was during that time that Aldrin ate the first food on the moon.
Buzz Aldrin ate the first food on the moon before the pair at the bacon meal. Specifically, he took communion and ate a wafer representing the ‘body of Christ.’ Aldrin had wanted to do something to mark the occasion and there have been much said about this decision. However, should it rate as the first meal eaten on the moon? I think not. It could be considered the first food, but it was not intended for sustenance and it certainly could never rate as a meal. You can read more about this on snopes.