This is a draft of what implementers should care about. You should probably return.

Implement it!

Owned by schools

The model will span almost the breadth of central Florida, as several discrete pieces that share a theme and a common sign.

Each piece of the model will be a planet and probably its moons, and each planet site will be stewarded by a school. Judging from Florida’s required topic schedule, the “owner” of each site will probably be a school’s 8th-grade science classes.

Part of the whole, accurately placed

At each site, there will be a standard piece, a durable sign that tells the general story of the model and sets the context for the parts around it. The sign placed next to a model piece will be about 2ft by 2ft, and have no information specific to a site’s planet.

Each model planet must be shown in its orbital path (or a trivial distance outside of it, if the benefit of a location is too good to pass up). The size of the planet and moons must be to scale, with no more than 5% error in any dimension. We care about size and distance accuracy in this model.

Composition and longevity

Each site of the project will be given either a fraction of the funds (to be used only for materials or tools). The specifics of how to construct a site are up to the local authority for it, but Chad will try to facilitate efficiently shared resources for construction. Whatever the medium, you must aim for a longevity of at least 10 years.

We don’t yet know what kind of funding will be available. Some ideas are simple painting on cement, mechanical etching on cement, acid etching on cement, ceramic embossing on cement, drawing in wet cement, sculpture. The costs of those vary, so it’s hard to predict up front, before funding arrives, which to choose. A site can, of course, add its own funding to make something grander.

Contents and standards

There are a few ideas a site has to present. The accompanying given sign will have the name of the model, a short description, and a reference to the web site to hold more information and context of what, where, why, and who. A visitor must not need access to the Internet to understand your piece of the model, though the web site can have supplementary information specific to a site.

A site must have the name of the planet, and illustrate the relative size of the planet unambiguously. It should say the duration of orbit, in terms of Earth years or days (Earth, excepted). It should also show the path through space the planet sweeps, from the North down. That means the planets will travel counterclockwise around the Sun.

If it makes the model clear, the site should also include the actual distance to the Sun and the actual speed around the Sun. Avoid mixing model numbers and actual numbers by using comparisons to describe model speed. Model distance should be obvious to a city traveler and so shouldn’t be mentioned.

All units must be metric, though secondary notation in ancient Imperial runes are acceptable.

This is just a bunch of notes for now. Lots of work to be done here. Get email updates or give Chad a note.