M&M's Are Seriously Out of This World!

by Laurnie Wilson

M&Ms. These tiny morsels of chocolate and sugar have been satisfying many a sweet tooth since 1941. And while you probably know of the candy’s worldwide acclaim, you may not have heard of its space-aged reputation. Let’s just say that for 33 years, M&Ms have quite literally been out of this world.

m-m-space-shipOn April 12, 1981, M&Ms or, as NASA deemed them, “candy-coated chocolates,” made their first voyage into space on the shuttle Columbia. In an effort to remove as much brand labeling as possible, NASA renamed the popular candy and put them in vacuum-sealed bags. The easily recognizable lower case ‘m,’ however, remained unchanged.

In space, the astronauts took comfort in the familiar treat and M&Ms soon became one of the most popular candies in orbit.

Integral to the fun created by these tiny chocolaty drops was the way the astronauts could easily amuse themselves with a mere handful. Countless pictures document astronauts tossing the candies in the zero gravity environment in order to eat them, mid-air.

Clearly, these seemingly insignificant little candies provided more than just a sugar-fix to the men and women in space. They were a way to have fun aboard the confines of the spacecraft. But, more than that, they were a reminder of home, and a way to connect to the Earthly lives they had left behind.

mm-spaceWhen NASA’s final shuttle Atlantis launched into space on July 8, 2011, you can be sure that M&Ms were on board. In fact, Mars made a special edition M&M just for the flight.

In red, silver, and blue, the commemorative candies were printed with either a picture of a space shuttle, the phrase 3-2-1 Lift Off, or the date: July 8, 2011.

Over the course of their space career, M&Ms flew on more than 130 missions, bringing smiles to our men and women above, while we enjoyed them down below.