Douglas Adams once wrote, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” In the spirit of hammering that reality home, Margot Trudell, a graphic design graduate student from Canada’s OCAD University, has created an interactive scale model of our solar system. She then made that feat even more awesome by creating a series of infographics that chart the history of humanity’s space exploration. It’ll blow your mind clean out of your head. You can click the image below to see a full-size, more easily readable version of her infographic for the Moon.
She’s done an infographic like that for every planet in our solar system, as well as notable non-planetary locations such as the asteroid belt and Ceres. Aside from being informative and reminding just how many missions we’ve sent out to explore our astronomical surroundings, they’re also kind of gorgeous. If you agree, it’s worth noting that Trudell is selling prints of each of the infographics, which you can purchase here.
As for the real showcase of her graduate project — amusingly called “OMG Space” — click over to her site to check out the interactive model of the solar system. As we said before, this model is to scale, and you interact with it in one of two ways: you can start at the Sun and scroll down manually, or you can use the individual planetary links at the bottom. I recommend that second way, because I tried the scrolling initially and soon realized that it was going to take a lot longer than I thought to get to Mercury.
Another brilliant touch is that when you click on the links, rather than just jumping to the location immediately, it scrolls down super-fast. Watching just how little of the scroll bar is used up getting to our innermost planet is insane, and it gives you a truly jaw-dropping view of just how big our solar system is. If you then try to mentally apply that lesson to, say, our galaxy, you may want to wrap a towel around your head because your brain may explode. (And I’m sure the late Douglas Adams would have approved of the towel.)