By Evan Ackerman
Giga Pudding comes in vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, and all you have to do is add boiling water and refrigerate. The video, however, is a bit misleading since the “giga” prefix means “billion” and the pudding in the ad is nowhere near large enough. Must be some kind of demo thing. So let’s see: if one pudding equals one of those Jello snack cups, which seems entirely reasonable, a Giga Pudding would end up weighing about 125,000 tons.
This is a lot of pudding.
I would like to attempt to explain to you just how much pudding a Giga Pudding is through a useless (but entertaining!) thought experiment.
More, after the jump.
If the space shuttle used pudding for fuel (powering both the solid rocket boosters and the main engines), a Giga Pudding would be enough to get it to the International Space Station and back sixty five times,* assuming that the pudding also functions as an oxidizer (which I’m sure it does). Two Giga Puddings would be enough fuel for pretty much the entire history of the shuttle fleet (130 launches so far).
But wait! This is assuming that pudding has the same energy density as rocket fuel, which is most likely not the case. If we assume that Giga Pudding has about the same amount of calories** as Jello (100 per 113 grams-ish, depending on what kind of Jello you like), that’s a specific energy of 3.7 MJ per kg. The aluminum fuel in the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters, on the other hand, has a specific energy of 31 MJ/kg, while the liquid hydrogen burned in the main engines produces 143 MJ/kg. If you were to replace these fuels with Giga Pudding, you’d need 8 times the amount of solid propellant and 39 times the amount of liquid propellant, again assuming that the Giga Pudding recipe incorporates an oxidizer. Where does that leave us? Needing nearly 37,000,000 kg of pudding per launch. That’s another 50 external tanks full of pudding, but you’d still get a solid three launches out of one Giga Pudding.
Like I said, that’s a lot of pudding.
Giga Pudding is, as you might expect, currently available in Japan. Space shuttle sold separately.
*The propellant used for each launch is 500,000 kg x 2 for the SRBs, plus about 630,000 kg + 105,000 kg for the oxidizer and fuel respectively for all three SSMEs.
**Since I don’t have immediate access to a bomb calorimeter to determine the actual energy that you get from burning pudding, and even if I did I’d eat the pudding instead of setting it on fire, I’m just using the food calories. This ignores energy contained in indigestible things like dietary fiber, but pudding doesn’t have any fiber in it, so I’m going to assume that it’s a fair approximation.
And feel free to rip apart my math on this one, it’s 4am and I’m suffering from a vicious combination of sleepiness and pudding cravings.