Module 1: Perspectives


To get a sense of scale, you'll be designing (or finding a design for) and making a scale model of our Solar System. If you've done the distance scale before, you may choose to model sizes or masses of worlds. Directions for a Scale Distance Model follow. If you are choosing to do a model based on mass or size, adjust the instructions accordingly, please.

1. Make a model of the distances in our Solar System. It is not necessary to include the sizes of most objects. Your model must be at least one meter radius, and must not be any larger than 6000 km. Your model may be physical, or, if large, may be achieved by marking positions on a map. You must actually make the model (or mark it on a map); calculations or lists are not sufficient. You may design the model yourself or use a standard one (such as "Earth as a Peppercorn" or a "Toilet Paper Solar System" - one version can be found at - but no extra credit for using this particular one).

2. Your model must include the distances from our Sun to each of the nine traditional planets.

3. In addition, calculate the size of Sun on this scale, and the Earth-Moon distance. It may or may not be practical to place these on your model, but estimate the model sizes, even if they're not practical to achieve.

4. Locate your assigned world on the model. (This is simple for most, but may take some decisions for others.)

5. Turn in the following (as part of your submission to the HW Submission conference):

a. The map scale. This can be in the form of "1:1,000,000,000", or "1 AU = 1 inch", or any other form that would allow someone to re-create your model.

b. The measurements (in scale units) to the various planets.

c. The scale size of Sun.

d. The scale Earth-Moon distance.

e. The name of your world and location in the model.

f. Your impressions of the model. (Describe the results.)

g. Source(s), if you have used a standard model. (If you're using one that someone else figured out, give enough information to credit that person and help me find the original, if possible.) Also any other references, if you have used them in calculating or making your model.

If any of this is unclear, please use MSUlink to ask your question(s). If you team up, you must still submit your results individually as part of your homework submission.

To return to Module 1 Page, click here:

All materials subject to copyright laws

Montana State University

last updated 1/21/02