Pizza pies were launched into space frozen and prepared by astronauts from available ingredients on the space station. They were even loved to the moon in songs. However, pizza has never been said to have a “cosmic taste” before.
That is, not yet.
Papa Johns introduces the “world’s first space pizza”. (will open in a new tab),” with chorizo as space-flavored filling.
“Spicy flavors like chorizo have long been the favorite space food of hungry astronauts, which is why they have such a rich space heritage,” said Chris Welch, a former vice president of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale and a self-styled “astronaut.” said in a statement (will open in a new tab) released Wednesday (September 14) by Papa Johns. “But surprisingly, as recent data has shown, its flavors and distinct aromas can indeed be considered ethereal—with traces of the same aromatic compound thought to be found in both space and chorizo.”
According to Papa Johns, chorizo is the farthest traveled sausage in the world. In 1998, Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque of the European Space Agency (ESA) took Leon chorizo aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, sharing spicy meat with his teammates, including the first Mercury 7 astronaut John Glenn.
On the subject: Food in space: what do astronauts eat?
(Image credit: NASA)
Astronauts have found that in microgravity in space, where the smells of the food they eat don’t reach their noses, many foods taste like a blender more than they do here on Earth. So spicy food (will open in a new tab) – for example, a shrimp cocktail or chorizo is preferable.
“Papa Johns is a brand that is synonymous with delicious taste experiences,” said Joe Blundell, Papa Johns vice president of global marketing. “So, our new space-inspired chorizo pizza range and intergalactic marketing campaign will take our fans on an epic flavor journey into whole new dimensions.”
The new Chorizo Planet line combines chorizo flavors with pizza, papadas and Papa Johns rolls. This fall, the space menu will be available in China, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Poland, Germany, and select Latin American markets. (There are no plans to offer the “Planet Chorizo” line in the United States.)
Recently featured online as a photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, chorizo has more than just a flavor to tie it to the cosmos. According to Welch, who has a master’s degree in space physics and a PhD in space engineering, the sausage pieces also look exactly like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the largest storm in the solar system.
What’s more, Welch says, there’s evidence that the same carbon compounds formed during the drying process of paprika, which is used to make chorizo red, can also be found in space. This may explain why astronauts have reported smelling fried meat. (will open in a new tab) after spacewalk.
“At first glance, chorizo pizza might not automatically be associated with space,” Welch told collectSPACE.com. “However, by making this unexpected connection, Papa Johns stimulates people’s curiosity, and if they dig deeper, they can learn not only about (non-space) food chemistry, but also about the space environment, human spaceflight, space science and space exploration.”
(Image credit: Chelsea Lane)
The campaign goes beyond pizza. Chelsie Lane Cosmetics has released a limited edition “Chorizo Style” lipstick in honor of the new Papa Johns line and chorizo’s cosmic heritage. The lipstick, reminiscent of the marble texture of meat and infused with the scent of chorizo, will be available for purchase worldwide on the Chelsie Lane website. (will open in a new tab). The lipstick hits the global market on Thursday (September 15) at the chorizo house at Madrid Fashion Week in Spain.
The Papa Johns “Planet Chorizo” ad campaign is the latest in which seemingly non-space related products involve the item flying into space or otherwise conjures associations with astronomical objects.
“That says a lot about the growing popularity of space,” Welch said. “We recently saw a global soda brand tie their latest drink to space. (will open in a new tab)and now a pizza brand is doing the same. I hope this is just the beginning of the growing opportunities to advance space and use it to popularize and educate people about the many benefits of space activities and the wonders of the universe.”
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