Check out this scoop, y’all: NASA sent a shitload of ice cream, pizza, and E. coli bacteria to the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday. The goods were ferried up on a Cygnus rocket that departed from Wallops Island, Virginia at 7:19 a.m. Eastern. Now, a representative from NASA tells Inverse the lowdown on what tasty treats — and science experiments — were sent and why.
“[There were] 32 frozen fruit bars (various flavors), 30 ice cream cups (split chocolate and vanilla), eight ice cream bars, and 10 ice cream sandwiches,” the NASA rep tells Inverse. We’ve requested additional information on the pizza toppings and will update this post if and when we hear back.
Though the sweet treats and pizza were purely for moral support, the E. coli was not. I mean, that’d be a pretty twisted way for NASA to express gratitude to our astronauts, right? The bacteria is actually part of a science experiment called E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat). The idea is that studying how E. coli behaves in microgravity will help scientists create better antibiotics for astronauts should they get sick on a mission.
“The E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) mission will investigate space microgravity effects on the antibiotic resistance of E. coli, a bacterial pathogen responsible for urinary tract infection in humans and animals,” NASA explained in a statement.
While ice cream and E. coli might sound like the set up to a bad joke — or a bad weekend — all of these things are really important to NASA astronauts. Let’s just hope no one on board has to deal with E. coli in any capacity that’s not purely scientific.