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Cupcake Recipe Contest: Our Sweet Solar System

Surprise! This is Victoria again…

Many thanks to Stephen for diving right into the blogosphere with us—his debut here is a totally rad behind-the-scenes look at National Geographic‘s space special issue, which blows me right out of the digital water.

Not to interrupt his groove, but I do have one more thing to share before I vanish into the sands of Egypt.

On November 18 NatGeo books will release a fun new read called Planetology.

planetology-book.jpg

Written by veteran astronaut Tom Jones and planetary geologist Ellen Stofan, the book covers the planets of our solar system and beyond with a neat twist: How what we learn about other planets relates to our understanding of Earth, and vice versa.

For example, while Ellen has been on the slopes of Mount Etna in Italy many times to look at the up-close signs of volcanic activity, Tom has photographed the Kamchatka volcanoes in Russia erupting from a unique vantage point, far above Earth aboard the space shuttle.

These combined views can help astronomers look at volcanoes on distant worlds and get a sense of how they worked and how long ago they were active—or if they are active still.

I had a chance to talk with Tom and Ellen recently all about the book, and will have much more to share when I get back. But first, in honor of the book and a general love for the study of planets, I am putting an offer on the table.

venus-volcano.jpg

Venus’ volcano Maat Mons, as seen by the Magellan spacecraft

—Image courtesy NASA/JPL

Send me a stellar recipe, win a copy of Planetology.

I [heart] cupcakes, and I think planets are pretty sweet, so I’d like to combine my two passions into a recipe contest.

Send me your best recipe for a cupcake inspired by a planet. I’ll post the top three entries, and the grand prize winner will get a free copy of Planetology. Here are the rules:

  1. The recipe should make at least a dozen cupcakes and should be simple enough that most people could make it at home.
  2. Choose from only the eight official planets for your inspiration. That’s Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, for those of you keeping score. [sorry, Pluto]
  3. This is not a frosting-only contest. The entire recipe should reflect something scientific about your planet, from the ingredients you chose to the overall presentation.
  4. An individual can submit up to three entries.
  5. All entries should include the ingredients list, baking instructions, a photo of your creation, a brief description (200 words max) of the science behind your cupcake, and a valid email address.

Recipes will be judged on creativity, scientific accuracy, and ease of baking.

We’ll contact the winner for a mailing address for the book, and we promise not to use your email for anything other than this contest.

Please send your entry with the subject line “Planetology Cupcake” to vjaggard@ngs.org by November 23. The top three cupcakes will appear here on November 25.

Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with! Happy baking!!! Stephen, back to you.