With the last seat remaining on Amazon Boss Jeff Bezos’ first manned space flight up for auction later this week, Somerset may offer you a quieter way to learn about the planets.
While it cannot guarantee that you will feel the weightlessness or the thrust and excitement of being propelled into orbit, the beautiful and scenic Solar Space Walk along the Taunton Canal in Bridgwater will certainly put a spring in your step. .
So if a multi-million pound price tag is just a little out of your reach, take a look at this relatively unfamiliar walking route that offers not only the benefits of healthy exercise, but brainpower as well.
People who walk along this curious route usually have a reaction of utter surprise when confronted with the size of the different planets and the distance between them.
The pictures in the books can only attempt to convey the enormity of our solar system, but walking along this 22 km (14 mile) body of water makes one realize just how immense it is.
The course opens the eyes of the walker on the nine planets of our solar system which are located on the scale not only of the real size of each in relation to the other, but also of a precise report of the distances which separate them in space.
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There isn’t a book big enough to describe the vastness of space, but this sculpture trail features models of planets built at a scale of 1: 530,000,000, which means one millimeter on the model equals 530 kilometers.
If you don’t have the time (or the inclination!) To cover the 22 km, a good starting point is the Sun at Higher Maunsel Lock where you can grab a snack in the tea rooms.
You can then take your pick, either heading for Taunton or Bridgwater, and by some strange alien coincidence you may find a convenient waterhole about five miles on either side if the perils of navigating space create a thirst.
The Somerset Space Walk was imagined by Taunton astronomer, inventor and poet Pip Youngman who wanted to open people’s minds to share his connection and fascination with the universe.
A good starting point is the sun at Higher Maunsel Lock
His idea came true in 1997 and gave visitors food for thought when they saw that the Sun was a bright yellow piece of concrete eight feet tall and weighing 14 tons while Pluto was the equivalent of a small peas.
The walk is free for the general public (and their four-legged friends), always open, and those who wish to use boats or cycle in a group should contact British Waterways.
As always, visitors are urged to be respectful of the environment around them and to bring litter home.
So if the current media attention to passenger flights in space seems like some sort of cosmic fantasy, ground yourself in a real-world experience of what the solar system looks like – oh, and either baby steps or giant jumps beyond infinity are ok.
Have you tried walking? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-11 23:00:00