Local science teacher Trevor Macduff started the project as a teaching tool, calculating the scale of the planets and other orbiting objects with his students. The non-profit he founded SILAS Education continues to collaborate with the REACH Museum and donors to add to the existing structures and create educational destinations to the model throughout the region.
Orbital markers are being placed at locations along river trails to help learners visualize the vast distances of space. With the 40-foot sun located at the REACH (1943 Columbia Park Trail) how far would each of the planets be?
The orbits of Mercury and Venus would cross the river nearby at the Richland Wye, but Saturn is at the northern edge of Richland near the USS Triton Submarine Sail!
Trevor’s students also created concepts for planetary sculptures with scale-model spheres. Some of these have been fabricated by metal arts students at Kamiakin High School, and are displayed on the grounds of the REACH Museum (Earth and dwarf planet Pluto, with Jupiter and Mars coming soon.)
Larger-scale planetary sculptures will be placed at other locations throughout the region, with support from municipalities and business owners.