12.13.2012

Tang - the Drink of Astronauts

Tang, a powdered drink mix that first hit the market in 1959, was possibly one of the biggest deterrents to my becoming an astronaut. Well, that, coupled with the fact that I was a girl who was never encouraged to do anything scientific, but that's really not the point.

Tang tasted wretched.

Tang sold poorly when it first came out, which is no surprise to me. It didn't gain any sort of popularity until NASA began using it on unsuspecting astronauts who, upon tasting the stuff, were highly motivated to return to earth safely so they could get something decent to eat and drink.

According to Wikipedia, Tang was first used on John Glenn's 1962 Mercury flight, during which he conducted some experiments on eating in orbit. I can only imagine his disappointment. It was the heating up of the space race along with some clever advertising that allowed Tang to be tasted at least once by every man, woman, and child in America. Sort of like having your wisdom teeth removed, it was a good thing we all got past it with only internal scars.

In its defense, Tang has thankfully gone through some changes and reformulations over the years, and you can still buy it, but I'm not going to go out of my way to do so. Once was definitely enough for me.

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