I took a break today from my sedentary and completely delightful life of sleeping, reading, watching movies, and blogging to go on a road trip. In CP’s new orange Ford Explorer – transformed into my very own Magic School Bus for the day – we drove up to the end of I-95 and then hopped onto Rt. 1 to venture even farther north. Our destination? Outer space!
In the Dec. issue of Downeast Magazine we had read about the world’s largest scale model of the solar system. Located on the 40 mile stretch of road between Houlton and Presque Isle, within view for the length of it of the Canadian wilds, and beneath the shadow of the fittingly named Mars Hill, with its futuristic (and strangely gorgeous) ridge lined with windmills…is The Maine Solar System Model. The scale is 1:93,000,000 which converts Pluto to 1 inch in diameter and Jupiter to 61.4 inches in diameter. It was built by the people of Aroostook County in collaboration with the University of Maine at Presque Isle. How cool is that?
We traveled through the solar system from the far reaches of space, encountering Pluto first. On a scavenger hunt through several small snowy towns, we traveled faster than the speed of light (which at this scale would have been 7 mph!). We found the planets in fields, beside houses, at the tops of hills, and incorporated into bits of landscaping. Each planet inspired gleeful delight, and a certain amount of awe (scaled to size). It was really pretty neat. I highly recommend keeping an eye out if you’re ever in the area. While some of the planets could be easily missed, you would have difficulty not hitting the breaks if you encountered this: