The Flattest Place on Earth


 

The Flattest Place on Earth

At Yeadon Space Agency, we’ve been generating some new ideas for a unique spatial phenomenon. Our intention is to create the straightest possible line in the space-time continuum — right here on Earth — in order to reveal the warped, wondrous relationship that exists between space-time, mass, and gravity. And, our creation just might be the flattest place on Earth.

Around our great planet, there already exist a vast number of natural and manmade surfaces that are extraordinarily level. In addition to familiar city streets and squares, an assortment of perfectly still glacier lakes might readily come to mind, or perhaps the sublime Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia. The place that we envision would be much, much flatter than all of these.

Our intent is to cut a straight line through the curvature of the Earth, to create a 30 mile (~ 50 km) long segment that takes the form of a broad trail carved into the surface of a dry playa desert, such as Nevada’s remote Black Rock Desert. Each end of the trail would originate at the surface of the desert, however the midpoint of the trail would be 160 feet (~ 50 m) below grade, due to the curvature of the Earth. As visitors enter the trail and begin their journey toward its midway point, they will effectively be descending “downhill” until they reach the middle. Conversely, one will not be able to avoid having to walk “uphill” in order to ascend to the Earth’s surface again, even though they are moving along a perfectly flat plane — the flattest place on Earth.

This gravitational warp would also be apparent if the channel were to be occasionally filled with water. The water would gather at the middle of the trail, and would be pushed up as gravity bends it to follow the curvature of the Earth’s surface. Standing at either end of the passage and looking down its length, one will notice a notch in the horizon where the route is carved into the Earth. This means that, during certain times of the year, the sun will rise earlier and set later along this secluded desert trail.

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Image Credits: Jayel Aheram, Mike Baird, T. Bobosh, Carl Curman, Jody Digger, Steve Jurvetson, Library of Congress, Robert Montgomery, NASA, Photo Verulam, Pedro Szekely, QNR, Blieu Song, Tahoenathan, Takashi, Wendy Thompson, and Yeadon Space Agency

Music Credit: “Easy Lemon” by Kevin MacLeod