Have you ever wondered just how big space really is? It’s huge. In fact, it’s astronomical!
A great way to learn about the space is to take a tour of a scale model of our solar system. Jeffrey Bennett, author of the Max Science Adventure Series and one of the Big Kid Science founders, helped create the Voyage Scale Model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and the Colorado Scale Model Solar System on the University of Colorado Campus in Boulder.
The Voyage model depicts the Sun, the planets, and the distances between them all on the same scale of 1 to 10 billion. That is, the real objects and distances are 10 billion times larger than the objects and distances in the model. On this scale, Sun is about the size of a large grapefruit, while Earth is the size of the ball point in a pen. It’s 15 big steps from the Sun to Earth, about 75 yards to marble-size Jupiter, and less than a half-mile walk to Pluto, the most distant object shown in the model.
Click here to take a Virtual Tour of the Voyage model. Start at the Sun, then click on the planet images along the left side to choose where to go next. (The tour is a little out of date; we hope to update it soon.)