Sunday, November 2, 2008

A sense of scale

If you shrunk the earth down to 1 meter in diameter, the difference between the highest mountain and the deepest sea trench would be 1.5 mm. The International Space Station is 1.2 inches up, and the Space Shuttle can't go higher than about 3 inches. Geosynchronous orbit is 9.2 feet from the surface. The distance to the moon becomes 100 feet, give or take about 5 feet depending on where it is in its orbit. Mars never gets closer than 2 2/3 miles, and the sun is 7.2-7.4 miles away (we're closest Jan. 3, and furthest Jul. 4). The nearest star, Alpha Centauri? It's more than 8 times the (actual) distance to the moon.