I'm sure a lot of you have seen the 4000 mi^2 salt flats photo touting "Wheres the curve???" After all, with an area that size we should totally be able to see the curvature of the Earth... right? Wrong.
This is another nifty "experiment" that you can also do yourself in order to develop some perspective of our place on this earth. The diameter of the Earth is 12,742 km; a circle with diameter = 12,742 mm was used to simulate the cross section of the Earth. The 4000 mi^2 salt flats, assuming they are square, would have a length of around 100 km, represented by that tiny sliver of 100 mm arc length.
As you can all see from the exploded view... the surface appears to be flat!! The Earth is so humongous that as a human we cannot gain the proper perspective to see the curvature of the Earth. "Engineers have built bridges using the flat earth approach so it must be real!" The longest bridge ever is 38 km long (Lake Pontchartrain Causeway). So as you can see, at a resolution of 38 km, the earth will appear to be flat as a pancake. It's all about perspective people!
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