January 16, 2010

Milky Way Transit Authority

Samuel Arbesman, a postdoctoral sociologist at Harvard University, has created a semi-whimsical Milky Way Transit Authority map that's rather interesting. Inspired by Carl Sagan's novel, Contact, Arbesman has treated the various arms and spurs of the Milky Way in the manner of a subway map, complete with various stops and transfer stations. As Arbesman wrote:

This map is an attempt to approach our galaxy with a bit more familiarity than usual and get people thinking about long-term possibilities in outer space. Hopefully it can provide as a useful shorthand for our place in the Milky Way, the 'important' sights, and make inconceivable distances a bit less daunting. And while convenient interstellar travel is nothing more than a murky dream, and might always be that way, there is power in creating tools for beginning to wrap our minds around the interconnections of our galactic neighborhood.

I have attempted to actually make this map as accurate as possible, where each line corresponds to an arm of our galaxy, and the stations are actual places in their proper locations.

A larger PDF version of the map can be found here.

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