The Kerbey queso recipe is out of this world — literally.
Launched from Florida via SpaceX’s Falcon rocket in February, the unmanned Israeli spacecraft Beresheet crashed into the moon last week while carrying a multi-million-page archive of human civilization and history — including Kerbey Lane Cafe’s queso recipe. Spacecraft operators lost communications with the ship at 2:26 p.m. Thursday and declared the mission unsuccessful shortly after.
“We had a failure in the spacecraft,” Opher Doron, general manager of Israel Aerospace Industries, said from the control room. “We unfortunately have not managed to land successfully.”
While failing in its main goal to become the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface, Israel became the seventh successful country to orbit the moon. The accomplishment was a joint effort by the Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries.
The decision to let the top-secret recipe on board came from Austin Mayor Steve Adler and the Arch Mission Foundation, whose goal is to permanently archive all human knowledge in space.
“As part of their program, the Arch Mission invited a limited number of celebrities, influencers and dignitaries to make a contribution to the Lunar Library,” according to Adler’s website. “The Foundation provided this opportunity to Austin’s Mayor.”
According to the foundation’s website, the library was etched onto a nickel-plated device that resembles a DVD. Composed of several layers and 100 gigabytes of highly compressed data, the information — more than 80,000 images of books, photographs and documents — can be magnified and viewed.
Arch Mission spokesperson Katarina Brown said the library containing the recipe is likely still intact despite the spacecraft’s failure.
“The landing was a little bumpier than expected, but airplane black boxes survive stronger impacts, and our disc is less breakable,” Brown said. “Small, light objects, like our 100 gram library, do better in impacts. It was probably thrown a few kilometers away — a 30-million-page frisbee on the moon.”
If not, Brown said the foundation at least “installed the first archaeological ruins of early human attempts to build a library on the moon.”
Adler said in addition to the queso recipe, he chose to include a picture of Leslie Cochran — a former, homeless mayoral candidate. The library also includes an English copy of Wikipedia, the Bible and a key to 5000 languages.
“We choose to send queso to the Moon – and maybe someday chips as well, not because these things are easy, but because they are hard,” Adler said on his website after the launch.
To celebrate their contribution, Kerbey Lane Cafe gave away free queso and commemorative T-shirts on Thursday.
“It *crash* landed, but we are still so proud to have been a part of this historic event!” said a post on Kerbey Lane Cafe’s Facebook page. “Hats off to all involved and we look forward to the next mission. Next time, we won’t forget to send the chips to accompany the queso recipe!”
Biology senior Hannah Kirby said she did not know about the promotion when she went to lunch, but she said the free queso made her day.
“The first queso recipe in space — that’s pretty good,” Kirby said. “I’ll have to fly to the moon to steal it now.”
Biochemistry junior Jennyly Nguyen, who also took advantage of the promotion, said the mission is something Austin should take pride in.
“I don’t think it’s a disappointment that the ship crashed,” Nguyen said. “The recipe still made it to the moon, and not a lot of cities can say that about their food.”
Morris Khan is an Israeli telecommunications entrepreneur and the president of SpaceIL, the nonprofit that collaborated on building the spacecraft. On Saturday, Khan announced that SpaceIL will begin work on Beresheet 2.0 this week.
“We’re going to put (it) on the moon, and we’re going to complete the mission,” Khan said.