This set of web pages is about making models of the Earth and our
Moon to get a better understanding of their sizes and distances from
Models Are Useful
Everyone uses models of things. Kids play with model people,
houses, cars, airplanes, you name it, most toys are models of
Adults use models, too. People who design buildings look at small
models of what they are building to help them know how to construct it
and how it will look when it's finished. Dentists make models of
teeth that need fixing. Aeronautical engineers make models of
airplanes to test them in wind tunnels.
Models let you look at the whole thing all at once.
Models Show you "The Big Picture"
Suppose you wanted to know how about two of our planet's
best-known islands, Greenland and Iceland. You could fly to Greenland,
get out of the plane and look around. Then you could fly to Iceland
and do the same thing. You might have a nice (and probably chilly)
vacation, but you really wouldn't get a feel for the sizes and shapes
of these two islands.
You could look up Greenland and Iceland in an encyclopedia to find
out how many square miles or square kilometers they each have. The
numbers might be interesting, but they're hard to picture. Greenland
covers an area of 2,192,500 square kilometers. That's an impressive
number, but it doesn't give you a feeling for the size of
Greenland. That big number doesn't tell you what shape Greenland is,
Go to the next page.