Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Solar System Voyage between the Smithsonians

In 2006 T & I got to follow my husband for a visit to Maryland, and took a day to go see a few sights in DC.  At that point he was 3, and learning the planets in preschool.  As we walked past the Smithsonian Castle on the way to the Air & Space Museum we found the "Voyage."
T at the start of the Voyage in 2013

Why am I sharing this with you?  3 Reasons.
1. It is a REALLY cool thing to do while eating ice cream, or just taking a break from so much inside-y-ness, and a fun way to get from one Smithsonian to another.
2. It was so much fun looking at these photos side by side. (Loopily self indulgent)
3. I couldn't remember exactly where it ran between, and I couldn't find anything online that pinpointed it's location.  So I am doing that.
The Pluto (dwarf planet) end is here:

Right by the Mall side (Jefferson Ave.) entrance of the
Smithsonian Castle
The What?

The Original Smithsonian
The one across from the National Gallery
And the Sun end is at the West end of the National Air & Space Museum.  

So, here's 2006 vs. 2013 at Pluto:

At Neptune:

Uranus was much more successful this time.  In 2006 it was in the center of a construction zone. So this is the best picture we were able to get of it.

See there it is, WAY in the back.
Wait, let me zoom in on that a bit...
 See? Much better.  And 2013 of course.
On to Saturn:

And Jupiter.  For scale - this is a 1:1/10,000,000,000 scale model (1 ten billionth) making the walk about 600m (0.4 mi), and this means Jupiter is about the size of the end of T's nose.

See the white dot in the center of
the black oval plaque?
That's scale Jupiter.  So most of the
planets are pin-dot size or smaller.
A quick stop at the Asteroid Belt:

And on to the Rocky Planets -
Mars is SO cool these days

Home Sweet Home:

Venus - the green house disaster.  Yah know, people say that Venus is DOOMED to be this hot gas enshrouded rock forever.  But doesn't that make it the perfect test platform for de-greenhouseing?  Close by, already a mess, and big enough to (obviously) hang on to an atmosphere, however noxious to us feeble humans.
Mercury - the moon's twin.  Trivia: Mercury is further away from the sun than we are from Mercury. 

And the Sun!  I'll leave you with another Air & Space museum stat:
If you lined up all the planets size by side (you can even count Pluto if you want), 4 sets would line up across the sun, leaving enough room for an extra Saturn, 4 Earths and 1 Mercury.

And so I will end with 2 other pieces of silliness.
1.  Quick conversation re: DC scenery
Me: So when we get home, what are you tell dad you saw?
T: Busses.  Lots of busses.

2. Kids these days.
No... That's not a touch screen.
(National Air & Space Museum 2013)

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