POLITICS

Visit to edge of Earth's solar system all in a days' walk in Fort St. John, B.C.

07/18/2012 01:17 EDT | Updated 09/17/2012 05:12 EDT
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - A journey to the farthest reaches of Earth's solar system begins with a single step — and you can be home for lunch.

Forget space shuttles, this extraterrestrial exploration only requires some good hiking shoes and visit to the northeastern B.C. city of Fort St. John.

The city and its school district have created what they say is Canada's largest scale model of the earth's solar system, starting from the sun and ranging outward, past Earth, Jupiter and Saturn, all the way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

The entire walk covers an 8.6 kilometre path, with planets and other objects placed to scale along it, and marked with a sign and QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone to access a webpage for further information.

Fort St. John students have worked for more than a year, compiling facts about the solar system and creating the webpage content.

School district officials say the layout easily conveys the massive distance to this system's most far-flung planet because walkers travel from the Sun to Mars within the first 334 metres, but must trek for more than eight kilometres before reaching Pluto. (MooseFM)