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Cosmic Pizza

Edible Earth Calendar

The HELIO COMPASS is round galactic calendar. Pizza is also round. Deciphering the truth of the universe and expressing it via a pizza is our challenge for each exciting episode of Cosmic Pizza.


Invitation to a Mars-like Sense of Time

HELIO COMPASS inventor Kaichi Sugiyama offers a commentary on the real-time motion of the stars, and this inspires Swedish pizza parlor Omnipollos hatt to design a pizza. Each edition of Cosmic Pizza presents a new pizza created through a collaboration between HELIO COMPASS and Omnipollos hatt.

Conjunctions and Oppositions of Mars 2021

May 8 Opposition with Saturn
June 7 Opposition with Jupiter
August 9 Conjunction with Mercury
August 16 Opposition with Neptune
October 8 Opposition with Earth
November 18 Conjunction with Mercury
November 26 Opposition with Venus
December 6 Opposition with Uranus

Past possibility, future possibility

In a hundred years’ time, we could be sitting on Mars and admiring Earth. Humanity is that serious about colonizing Mars and making it our second home.

“When the concept of a space elevator becomes reality, we’ll be able to transport goods to the Moon without launching a space shuttle. That will pretty much prepare us for traveling beyond the atmosphere of Earth to Mars.”

What drives us to go so far out of our way to explore unchartered territory? Having recognized the limits of Earth’s environment, we feel the urgent need for a new world. This much is certainly true. But Kaichi Sugiyama has another surprising suggestion: “It’s probably pure curiosity, not unrelated to the ordinary urge to settle on new land and see what crops we can grow.” Mars might be the force that expands our possibilities, and those of Earth, outward.

“Also, there’s that undeniable gut feeling that life can exist. The discovery of traces of water has fanned speculation about life on Mars.”

Mars is pregnant with the possibility both that someone has lived there in the past—Is the notion of octopus-like Martians universal? —and that humans might live there in the future.

Is Mars the next Earth?

Mars, like Earth, is inside the habitable zone of the solar system. The solar system is roughly bisected by an asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and the planets in the inner and outer regions are conclusively different in nature. For instance, the inner planets including Earth and Mars are composed of minerals, whereas the outer planets from Jupiter onward are composed of gas and have no solid surface.

Mars has many similarities to Earth, from size to rotation period to axial tilt. This means that Mars also has days and seasons.

“Temperatures range from lows of minus 140ºC to highs of 30ºC. The summers should feel comfortable enough anyway.”

Mars has about a third of the gravity of Earth, meaning we would be three times as strong. Even the average person would perform as amazingly as Michael Jordan, jumping 1 meter high and staying in the air for about 2 seconds. Speaking of triples, Mars has the highest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons, which at an elevation of 25,000 meters is about three times higher than the highest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest.

Life on Mars is certainly a departure from life on Earth, but it isn’t extremely beyond imagination. If we had to picture ourselves leaving Earth and living on another planet, we would probably picture ourselves living on Mars.

Keeping time in two-year terms

In the HELIO COMPASS, two planets in line are said to be at conjunction, and two planets on opposite sides of the Sun are said to be at opposition. The outer planets such as Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus move so slowly that they appear not to be moving at all from the inner planets, which have a short orbital period. Earth, with an orbital period of one year, and Mars, with that of two years, follow their respective paths inside the orbits of the outer planets and come to conjunction or opposition with each of the planets in turn. That is, they spend a year or two years, as the case may be, paying visits to their fellow planets in the solar system.

Let’s try putting that another way. What Earth experiences over the course of one year, Mars experiences more slowly, taking double the amount of time, over the course of two years. Wouldn’t it feel refreshing to free ourselves from the habit of keeping time with a base unit of one year and use a base unit of two years instead?

“Have you ever put on a new jacket and found that after one year, you still haven’t made it your own, but after two years, you’ve really incorporated it into your style? Forget about Earth’s one-year cycle for a change. Make up your mind and stick to something for two years. I think we would enjoy a Mars-like sense of time.”

A taste of extraterrestrial

And now to Omnipollos hatt. What kind of pizza did this story inspire? First and foremost, the color red came to mind.

“The base is a tomato sauce, and we added a spicy Middle Eastern paste called muhammara to create a rich, deep red.”

The elliptical dough mimics the shape of Mars’s orbit. This is topped with the red sauce, and in a straightforward expression of the lifeform that we hope exists on Mars, cuttlefish (because fresh octopus is hard to come by in Sweden!). The pizza dubbed Olympus Octopus offers a taste of extraterrestrial. Enjoy a rich, flavorsome pizza in which the muhammara-flavored tomato sauce, the pine nuts and chili peppers depicting the stars, and the fresh cuttlefish form a harmonious whole.

Olympus Octopus

The soil on Mars expressed with muhammara-flavored tomato sauce plus cheese is garnished with cuttlefish Martians and accents of pine nuts and chili peppers.

Kaichi Sugiyama
Born 1977 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Sugiyama self-studied calendars and designed the HELIO COMPASS. His invention was inspired, to some degree, by the extremity of time that he experienced in the course of his part-time job at a pizza parlor.

Is a map of time and space in the solar system. It shows the user’s place on planet Earth within the solar system within the cosmos.
Is a pizza and craft beer restaurant in Stockholm. Its latest branch opening is the beer stand Omnipollos Tokyo in Nihombashi. The pizza presented here was created by the owner–chef and artist Björn Atldax.
time reader | Kaichi Sugiyama pizza creator | Björn Atldax text | Mick Nomura (photopicnic) phography | Gustav Karlsson Frost