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If you plan on taking a trip to Jupiter, this is not the map to use.
March 5, 2014 1:14 PM   Subscribe

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a tediously accurate model of the Solar System that Josh Worth made to explain to his daughter just how difficult it is to go on holiday to Mars.
posted by Kattullus (69 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yes, space is mostly space.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:19 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Awesome orrery! I gave up near Jupiter when my hand cramped up. No idea how real astronauts would scroll so far!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:20 PM on March 5 [8 favorites]


See also: OMG SPACE, which scrolls down instead of across.
posted by zamboni at 1:20 PM on March 5


You can click on the icons along the top and it fast-forwards you to that planet, btw.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:21 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


This is really awesome.
posted by pseudodionysus at 1:21 PM on March 5


Despite that bastard Neil deGrasse Tyson, at least this one's still got Pluto.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:21 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


I made it as far as Saturn before I looked down and saw how much scroll bar was left to go. Then I just skipped to the rest of the planets with the icons up top.

This is great.
posted by figurant at 1:22 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


-spoiler- I looked for George Clooney, but not sure which pixel was his.
posted by Metro Gnome at 1:23 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


-spoiler- I looked for George Clooney, but not sure which pixel was his.

He was the one who collided with Frank Poole. What are the chances?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:25 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


He was the one who collided with Frank Poole. What are the chances?

With the infinite improbability drive switched on, 1.
posted by localroger at 1:26 PM on March 5 [8 favorites]


No Ceres? This is bullshit.
posted by ckape at 1:28 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


But I just told myself to get my ass to Maaaahs!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:28 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


And in the car, the whole way, my daughter would ask me to "Play the Elsa song agaaaain!"
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:28 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


at least this one's still got Pluto.

Heresy! Blasphemy!
posted by kjs3 at 1:28 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Fuck Pluto.
posted by cellphone at 1:29 PM on March 5


And if your monitor is about the same size as mine, looks like you'd have to scroll about 1,200 kilometers to get to Alpha Centauri.
posted by localroger at 1:29 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Ceres is only about 1/4 pixel across, which means less than 1/16 pixel in area. As the snarky space billboard says, the asteroids aren't visible at this scale.
posted by localroger at 1:33 PM on March 5


There's a whole little essay between Saturn and Uranus.

I've been spending a lot of time playing Space Engine since it was posted here in January. If you really want to get a feel for both the emptiness and diversity of this weird universe, I recommend it.
posted by theodolite at 1:35 PM on March 5


Scrolling gave me jet lag. It would have better to drive it.
posted by stbalbach at 1:36 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Oddly enough, the rings of saturn are not to scale here. They are bigger.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:37 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Fuck Pluto

I'm sure there's some Disney parody porn out there to suit your requirements.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:37 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Also, if your screen is dusty, there are stars.
posted by Rinku at 1:38 PM on March 5 [14 favorites]


No Ceres? This is bullshit.

Even worse, it's got most of the major moons, but no Triton for some reason. It's only a hair smaller than Europa, and bigger than Pluto.
posted by aught at 1:43 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


See, I am used to contemplating the staggering distances of space, but what astonishes me with such visuals is the force of gravity. It is, I'm told, a weak force, and indeed we can defeat it relatively easily (I sometimes think about this when having sex in certain positions), so it's counter-intuitive that something as huge as Jupiter can be locked onto the distant Sun. Why doesn't it just fly off? The Moon, too, seems too distant from us to be unable to escape. The explanation, I guess, is that there is no limit to the distance of gravity's pull, but this doesn't make it make sense.
posted by cincinnatus c at 1:44 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


I really expected this Douglas Adams quote to be the first comment: "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly 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."
posted by Kattullus at 1:47 PM on March 5 [13 favorites]


This is why you get in the hibernation pods.
posted by planetesimal at 1:51 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


It stops at Pluto? If I did this website I'd have put in Yuggoth and the Ghooric Zone as an Easter egg.
posted by crapmatic at 1:55 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


If you could scroll the other way, you could see Vulcan, Counter Earth, Phaƫton, Planet V, Planet X, Tyche, the Nemesis star, and, if you scroll far enough, the Oort cloud. We just have never seen any of these because they are always exactly opposite us with the sun between us.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:56 PM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Okay, I got as far as Venus before I cheated. CTRL+U, view source. Read all the fun text. Used the icons to take a gander at Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto. Nice site - thanks for sharing it.
posted by YAMWAK at 1:56 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


I think I'd buy spacesuit costumes, cover the car in aluminum foil, and drive out to whichever desert they use for testing the rovers.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:08 PM on March 5


I can't do this without getting a case of the willies.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 2:10 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


This requires a browser with a side-scroll button in order to really, really get it. Grabbing the slider is not the same.
posted by rahnefan at 2:10 PM on March 5


rahnefan: This requires a browser with a side-scroll button in order to really, really get it. Grabbing the slider is not the same.
Or a mouse with a wheel. Almost always this button defaults as a scrolling arrow of sorts
posted by andycyca at 2:17 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I've got dust on my monitor that's more significant than I am!
posted by Fnarf at 2:19 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


That is really cool!
posted by strixus at 2:21 PM on March 5


I demand representation for Ceres.

I know, it's less than a pixel in width. But the moon is represented as a pure white pixel. Therefore we can represent Ceres with a dimmer pixel.

The visual area of Ceres is about 708,000 km2, that of the moon 9,500,000 km2. The ratio is 0.0745, which translated into a 256-step grayscale is 19. So it gets a pixel with color #131313.

(Admittedly that's pretty dark.)
posted by zompist at 2:24 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


The right-arrow button made for a nice scroller in my browser. But yeah, after making it to Jupiter I also cheated and read the rest of the comments in the source.
posted by brokkr at 2:24 PM on March 5


"Some theories say all this emptiness is actually full of energy or dark matter and that nothing can truly be empty... but come on, only ordinary matter has any meaning for us."

Sorry, but this is meat speaking.
posted by hat_eater at 2:26 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Space, is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly 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.
posted by Hactar at 2:38 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


And now I see Kattullus beat me too it. Damn.
posted by Hactar at 2:39 PM on March 5


There's a to-scale model of the Solar System distributed around Boston. I bump into Jupiter sometimes going through South Station. Neptune is in Saugus, if that means anything to you.
posted by benito.strauss at 2:42 PM on March 5 [7 favorites]


The distances involved in space travel are staggering, but the fuel requirements for traveling within our own solar system are pretty reasonable values. For details, see this weird tree-themed delta-V chart with units in km/s.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:52 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


I'd really like a light-speed scroll for this - the keyboard scroll on mine is at least 8x the speed of light, and it be interesting to see light crawling its way through the void.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:53 PM on March 5


As it turns out, things are pretty far apart

This is astronaut for "it's just around the next corner, dear"
posted by chavenet at 2:55 PM on March 5


I'd really like a light-speed scroll for this - the keyboard scroll on mine is at least 8x the speed of light, and it be interesting to see light crawling its way through the void.

Yeah, but it means it'd take eight minutes to get to Earth from the Sun, and much longer for further-flung planets. That's a lot of time to fill with jokey comments.
posted by JHarris at 2:58 PM on March 5


Wait. I mean. You people do know you don't have to use the slider itself or the arrows, right? You can hold the mouse down on the VAST EMPTY SPACE of the scrollbar, and it whips along. The second you see something. STOP. Then click a few times back words in that empty space (click - don't hold), then the text shows up.

That is soooooooooo much more appealing to me. No need to literally click the button 6 bajillino times and cramp the hand. No need to skip to planets and miss the whole point of the thing. No need to load the source code to read the text.

Maybe I should tell my friend I shared this with to do that, because if she does what the rest of y'all are doing, man... She's missing out!

Never let me go on a space trip with you guys... "Are we there yet" indeed!
posted by symbioid at 3:38 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me from this model that the empty space in my living room -- just the empty space, not the furniture etc. -- is more crowded than the solar system, what with all the dust motes floating around in it that I can't even see.
posted by Fnarf at 4:01 PM on March 5


See also, from 1918, Unvelievable Time Required To Cover Immense Distances Of Space, estimated at the blistering speed of two miles per minute. (self-link)
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:01 PM on March 5


...and I think it's a long way down to the corner shop.
posted by pompomtom at 4:22 PM on March 5


The second you see something. STOP. Then click a few times back words in that empty space (click - don't hold), then the text shows up.

You're going to miss things that way, there's a good chance the screen will scroll more than one length per frame.
posted by JHarris at 5:07 PM on March 5


If you point the mouse cursor at the area to the right of the handle on the slider bar and hold the left mouse button down, it will scroll to the right at exactly one screen per repeat.
posted by localroger at 5:14 PM on March 5


For details, see this weird tree-themed delta-V chart with units in km/s.

I like this one better, because it's more readable and it notes where aerobraking is possible. Aerobraking is important. No booster that we've ever made has had the ΔV to get to LEO and then land on Earth safely. Thankfully, because of Earth's atmosphere, we don't need 9.5km/s ΔV to land, we let the heat shields do the job.

Basically, you draw the line from your departure point to the destination, and add up the numbers. If you aerobrake, you can ignore numbers if you pass by them in the same direction as the arrow points.

You can also get a sense of why the Saturn V/Apollo spacecraft was what it was. The SI-C and S-II stages had to get the rest into LEO* at 9.4km/sec. The S-IVB would throw in about 3.1km/sec getting the CSM/LM into lunar transfer. The SPS on the CSM handled lunar capture, LLO, spending about .8km/sec doing so, and the LM descent stage spent about 1.7km/sec landing. The LM ascent stage spends about the same getting to orbit, but it masses less, so it's much smaller. The SPS then makes the final big burn, leaving LLO and through Lunar Escape to Earth-Moon transfer orbit that intersects the Earth's atmosphere, which then takes care of the remaining ΔV.

Things to note -- how little the difference between Moon transfer and Earth Escape is. Note that Earth-Venus and Earth-Mars transfers are cheap, but Earth-Mercury and Earth-Jupiter are not, and why we don't have any low solar orbit probes.

Finally, compare the Pioneer 10/11, Voyager 1/2 and New Horizons budgets with the Galileo and Cassini budgets. Getting to Solar Escape is much easier than getting to low orbits around Jupiter and Saturn. That's why those probes didn't stop -- they simply didn't have the fuel to even try. Finally, solar escape orbits like New Horizon are *much* easier to reach than solar transfer orbits. The Helios solar probes, which have flown faster than anything else we've launched (70km/sec at perihelion) despite being much less massive, needed the same booster as the Voyager and Viking probes did.



* With a little help from the SIV-B, the third stage. We're handwaving.
posted by eriko at 5:50 PM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Not to mention, Mars isn't always nicely lined up like this. Most of the time it's even further away.
posted by lucidium at 6:05 PM on March 5


PROTIP: Hold Shift while scrolling with the wheel.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:24 PM on March 5


I tried to do this in minecraft once. I scaled the earth to the size of one block, then made a glowstone sphere to represent the sun. Then I dug a hole to make minecart boosters (back when these were a thing), laid a track almost all the way to the max ceiling (accounting for planet sizes), then began the slow process of making my railway across the solar system.

Every so often, you needed a minecart booster station to keep you going. Sometimes I ran up against super tall mountains that I had to carefully light and protect in case creepers blew up the place. It was incredibly slow going.

I made it to mercury before I discovered MCEdit.

Thereafter I made it to saturn before I hit a wall limited by how much RAM I had.

Calculating how much I needed to go to the blue giants, I decided my computer didn't have the means to make this scale map and I gave up on the project.

Now I have a beefier machine so maybe I shall open that world and try it again...
posted by theony at 7:55 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Okay, I got as far as Venus before I cheated. CTRL+U, view source

Ctrl-A, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V into a text editor of choice works too [in Windows].
posted by hat_eater at 11:51 PM on March 5


Yeah, but it means it'd take eight minutes to get to Earth from the Sun

Which means that a casual scrolling speed is at several times the speed of light.
posted by Kiwi at 1:42 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


I'd really like a light-speed scroll for this - the keyboard scroll on mine is at least 8x the speed of light, and it be interesting to see light crawling its way through the void.

Yeah, but it means it'd take eight minutes to get to Earth from the Sun, and much longer for further-flung planets. That's a lot of time to fill with jokey comments.


There's a Steam game called Universe Sandbox that allows you to play around with a model universe. One feature it to create a "light pulse" that emits from a selected object out into the universe. With the speed settings set at real-time you can see the "pulse" eminating out at light speed and see just how long it really takes to get from one object to another.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:05 AM on March 6


We need to talk about "Uranus," the butt of so many jokes. All the puerile snickering could have been, and should have been, avoided altogether.

All the other planets (except Earth and Pluto*) are named after Roman god(esse)s, but "Uranus" is merely the Latinized name of the Greek god Ouranos, not the name of a Roman god. Tthe Roman counterpart of Ouranos is Caelus, father of Saturn, grandfather of Jupiter and Neptune and Pluto*, great-grandfather of Mercury and Mars. Saturn chopped off Caelus's balls and chucked them into the sea, yada yada yada, Venus was born. Therefore, for the sake of consistency, the planet should properly be called Caelus.

That or George.

* Depending upon whom one asks, Pluto may or may not be a Roman god, and may or may not be a planet. Pity poor Pluto.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:07 AM on March 6


I feel dizzy.
posted by homunculus at 9:01 PM on March 6


Pluto may or may not be a Roman god,

He is now technically classified as a Roman dwarf god.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:33 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


AKA a godoid.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:57 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Probably a captured god belt object.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:19 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


"Let's leave."
"We can't."
"Why not?"
"We're waiting for a godoid."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:25 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Finally got around to looking at this. Thanks for the link.

But oh my, how sad it made me, as I came upon Mercury, and then Venus, and then Earth. So insubstantial. :-(

I'll keep scrolling. I wonder how far I'll get?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 1:26 AM on March 16








Somehow I mised this the first time around, and I am glad to be catching it now. Super neat, thank you for posting it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:30 AM on April 5


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