My life on Mars: The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe in the Galaxy

Everyone knows about water on Mars, but very few people could brag like I can that they have discovered Hot Chocolate on Mars! 

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Everyone knows about water on Mars, but very few people could brag like I can that they have discovered Hot Chocolate on Mars!

Water on Mars… it never grows old… https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap050401.html 

For those of you who never been to “Mars”, not even in Utah at MDRS, and love hot chocolate, here is a recipe for the most extraordinary beverage I ever had the chance to drink since 2013. I volunteer for the World Space Week Association so I suggested/instigated we did the World Space Week Mission to Mars on “Mars” in Utah at MDRS, where I’ve been before. I love MDRS, it’s one of my favourite places on Earth and I am always too happy to go back there, it’s one of the very few places that really feel like home to me, and we did all sorts of crazy things there, but I didn’t think it was going to come with such a delicious memory. I learned from the best, Professor Jean Hunter, who is the head of the NASA Mars food study and who was then part of my WSW Mars crew.

The setting: Welcome to Mars

Mars mdrs and mt sharp.001
above, Mt Sharp/Mars, by Curiosity rover, below Utah/Earth by Haritina Mogosanu. The resemblance is striking. 

The Mission

The mission was simple, go in (Utah, MDRS – Mars Desert Research Station) do a world simulated mission to Mars to honour World Space Week 2013, take some pictures of Mars on Earth (and of the night sky in my spare time), then rush back to New Zealand for a TEDx Talk (which really squeezed my brains as I still had no idea what was I going to talk about… It turned out well in the end). So chocolate was required …

The Mars Desert Research Station, Utah

So as we did the Mars mission, one night it just so happened there was clear skies and I went outside to take some star trails.


It was very cold and I kept going in and out of the HAB (habitat) to warm up but nothing really worked as well as the hot chocolate Jean made for me that night. In heaven was I for three reasons: I was on a Mars mission, I was imaging stars, I was drinking the best hot chocolate ever. A few years later I ambushed Jean and she wrote it down for me and I had to share it, sorry it took so long.

So to cut the suspense here goes the recipe:

The Jean Hunter Hot Chocolate for Martians

25-30 g milk powder,
10 g cocoa powder,
15 g sugar.

Mix sugar and cocoa powder together thoroughly then mix in milk powder.  Next add 250 mL water and microwave until hot; stop partway through the heating process to remix.  At end add a few drops of vanilla (less than 1/8 tsp by American measure), a few grains of salt (10-20 max, brings out the chocolate flavor), and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Serve to tired astronaut just returned from long, cold stressful EVA. 🙂

If you do, first try part white and part coconut sugar, or some coconut sugar and some neutral high intensity sweetener like stevia. Coconut sugar is so strongly flavored that it may dominate even chocolate if used as the only sweetener. Other alternatives are honey or agave syrup.
Professor Hunter preparing for an EVA (extra vehicular activity) at MDRS

Everybody kept asking me about the space suits if they were real. No actually they were flight suits but with all the other equipment and the huge ventilators at the back they have proved to be as annoying as the real thing: you cannot hear anything through that helmet, you cannot hear anyone unless you are hooked to a communicator of some sort, you cannot use your fingers to touch anything, nobody can hear you scream unless you keep all the frequencies open (that includes remembering to charge the batteries) and you can only smell the inside of your helmet. But … it’s Mars and everyone wants to go there and regardless of the annoyances described above (and many more) I can guarantee they will too be drinking hot chocolate… there is no other way!

Trish, Jean and Haritina in 2013 at MDRS, preparing for an EVA during the World Space Week

Clear skies!