Among groups known for their gossip, astronauts have been a pretty low-ranking bunch. Yet two words uttered by Buzz Aldrin at a June 8 awards ceremony have tongues wagging.
The words? "Tang sucks."
Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, made the comment at Spike TV's "Guys Choice Awards" while presenting an award to edge-of-space skydiver Felix Baumgartner.
Why would Buzz diss the orange-flavored drink, which was closely associated with early NASA missions? NBC notes that Aldrin came to his realization while pondering Baumgartner's corporate sponsor, Red Bull.
The astronaut was never sponsored by Tang's manufacturer, General Foods, which provided an unbranded version of the beverage to NASA.
"The myth ... is that Tang was developed for the space program," Dr. Michele Perchonok, NASA's manager of the Space Food Systems Laboratory, explained in a 2006 interview with Space.com. "The actual truth is [that] General Foods was making its travel drink mix and NASA thought, 'Oh, this is how we should be flying our beverages.' So we purchased the already made and commercially available product."
Astronauts' drinking and dining options have improved significantly since Aldrin's Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Today our spacemen and spacewomen have been known to dine on steak, chocolate cake, and -- in one instance, reports Time -- mesquite-grilled tuna in a lemon-garlic-ginger marinade.
In any case, Aldrin seems unlikely to walk back the harsh review anytime soon. He tweeted about it several days later and encouraged viewers to watch the awards show.
In Buzz's defense, when it comes to memorable quotations, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind" is a pretty tough act to follow.