Budding astronauts explore the solar system in Derry – Derry Daily

If you’ve ever wanted to put the scale of the solar system into perspective, you better head to Londonderry.

The Our Place in Space project officially opened on Friday – Earth Day – in the city.

At its heart is a scale model of the solar system that stretches a 10km (six mile) trail along the banks of the Foyle and features sculptures of planets.

Several events were organized around the opening of the course, including a world record attempt.

Hundreds of suitably dressed people landed on Bay Road, where the trail begins, on Saturday in a bid to break the world record for the most astronauts.

Organizers said they broke the record with 716 astronauts, although this has yet to be officially verified.

The sculpture trail project is part of Unboxed: Creativity, a UK-wide festival celebrating science, technology, engineering and maths.

The Derry Project is the brainchild of author and artist Oliver Jeffers and astrophysicist Prof Stephen Smartt. It is produced by the nerve center of the city.

“It’s all about a 590,000:1 scale model,” Oliver said.

“The planets are precisely scaled in size and distance from each other just to really show how much space there is in space.”

The trail begins with a sculpture of the Sun, spanning approximately 2.5m

Earth is just over 300 meters down the scale trail and is just over 2cm in diameter.

Pluto, the size of a match head in the Derry version, is 9 km further.

Solar system explorers will be guided along the trail using an app.

Oliver added: “The idea is to keep looking back at us, the only place known to be habitable for human life in the entire universe.

“It encourages you to think about how we conduct ourselves, with ourselves, in this very limited space that we have in space.”

The event takes place in Derry over the next month before moving to Belfast, Cambridge and then the County Down coast later in 2022.

As part of the opening weekend, Oliver and Professor Smartt were joined by Sky at Night presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock for a conversation event in the city’s Guildhall.

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of space cadets gathered to try to set a new world record for the most people dressed as astronauts.

Entrants were given a strict checklist as their costumes had to meet specific criteria in order to be counted among the official entries.

Costume workshops were held in the city earlier this week and, once suitably suited and booted, the astronauts reported for duty at Bay Road Park.

A total of 716 people participated in the record auction according to the organizers. If the figure is officially verified, it would be almost triple the current world record total.

This weekend’s activities are just the start of a month-long series of free events across the city during the Our Place in Space run.

David Lewis of the Nerve Center said nearly two years of planning had brought the project to life.

“It’s not like anything people have seen before – the course takes Oliver’s signature illustrative style and combines it with Stephen’s encyclopedic knowledge of space,” he said.

“It’s remarkable work that transcends art, science, technology and math.”

He said the program of events is “exciting and different with something for everyone”.

Budding astronauts explore the solar system in Derry was last modified: April 24, 2022 by cassoscoop

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