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17

WEDNESDAY

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On the Mall, our solar system’s planets, comets, and meteors have been reduced to 13 8-and-a-half-foot-tall aerodynamic-looking silver units installed in the sidewalk along Jefferson Drive. One represents the sun, one is for the asteroids and comets, nine stand for the planets, and two introduce the exhibition, one at each end. It’s called “Voyage—A Journey Through Our Solar System,” and it was conceived by Jeff Goldstein of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education 10 years ago. The planets are portrayed at a ten-billionth their size and are at a proportionate distances from one another. Smithsonian press insists that it’s like being a giant and walking through the solar system. Really, it’s more like being a person, walking down Jefferson Drive, and reading information about our solar system on silver plaques. The exhibition officially opens to the public today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the National Mall, between the Smithsonian Castle and the National Air and Space Museum. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Rion A. Scott)