At first I thought I wouldn’t watch this, because it’s 7 minutes long. But then I did watch it, and I’m glad I did, because it’s a beautiful and touching depiction of the relationship between solid matter and empty space in our solar system. As the producers of the film – Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh – point out, that relationship isn’t well understood by most of us. It’s impossible to capture in all the illustrations we’ve seen of our planets and sun because the planets are just so minuscule in contrast to the vast space of our own solar system, our local neighborhood of space. Any illustrations you’ve seen on paper or your computer screen just haven’t captured the matter-to-space relationship as it truly is.
That’s why these producers went to a dry lakebed in Nevada to make their film.
Some things I love about the film … the concept, of course, is wonderful, showing the planets and their orbits to the correct scale. But I also love the part of the film where the real sun rises and looks – from the “orbit” of their model Earth, a large marble – the same size as their model sun, which is a big illuminated ball about a meter-and-a-half wide. And I also love it when they say that, of the billions of people who live on Earth today or have ever lived on Earth, only 24 people have ever seen Earth as a ball in space with their own eyes.
Watch this film. It might change your concept of the world under your own feet.
Bottom line: Film depicting a scale model of the solar system, built on a dry lakebed in Nevada, produced by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.