A Description of The Solar System Model

Aroostook County, in Northern Maine, is building a 40 mile (64.6 km) long scale model of the solar system, at a scale of 1 mile equaling the distance from earth to sun. The model extends along Route 1, between the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus and the Houlton Information Center at the end of I-95. The model has ten major components, those being the sun and the nine planets from Mercury to Pluto, with moons for Earth, Saturn, Jupiter (4) and Pluto.
The model serves as an educational resource and tourist attraction. It will also draw attention to Northern Maine, The University at Presque Isle, and the Northern Maine Museum of Science located there. All planets except Pluto would be visible from the road. Educational information on the planets would be found in the brochure, available at the Information Center in Houlton. The small models are mounted on tall - ten foot high above ground level - posts to be viewed from the car, with the planets included within a 1-foot (3.048 dm) diameter semicircular structure to better show the tilt of the planets.
The planets are exhibited as three-dimensional models. The two largest planetary models Jupiter and Saturn measure 4-5 feet across (1.22 - 1.52 m) and the two mid-sized planets Uranus and Neptune measuring 21-22 inches (53 - 56 cm) require rather substantial monuments. However, there is local precedent and experience for models of this size, as both Presque Isle and Caribou have built large, permanent, monuments commemorating the first two balloon crossings of the Atlantic Ocean. These include models of the balloon envelopes that are larger in size than the envisioned planets. These models were constructed largely by local technical and high schools and funded by local service organizations. The solar system model requires a similar process in which local individuals and organizations take a direct role in construction and financing.
The last planet, Uranus, was set on its base on June 13th. The formal unveiling of the Maine Solar System Model happened at 1:00 on Saturday, June 14th 2003.