Run the Solar System

Are you ready for a 10k race that’s out of this world? Put on your running shoes and be guided through the breadth of our solar system. From the heat of the sun to the icy outer planets, you’ll become an intrepid space explorer in the British Science Association’s sensational space race.

The race, which chronicles a journey from the Sun to Neptune in just 10 kilometres, is accompanied by music and audio commentary from science broadcaster Dallas Campbell.

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Scene summaries may contain spoilers
Starting off at the sun, you'll be running the entire solar system! Over the next 10 kilometres, you'll be virtuall running 4.5 billion kilometres, from the sun to Neptune.
You've made it to Mercury. The first recording sighting of Mercury was by Assyrian astronomers over 3,000 years ago. But, despite being the closest to the sun, it isn't the hottest planet -- you'll have to keep running to reach that.
You've reached the very warm Venus! It's only since 1962 that we understood the hostile and extreme surface of this planet. It's called Earth's sister planet, because they are very similar.
Time for Earth, our home, 150 million kilometres from the sun! Frank Borman talks about what it was like to see the Earth as he travelled to the moon on Apollo 8.
You've reached Mars, and can listen to the tense NASA control room in the final few minutes as Curiosity landed on the suface.
At 3K, you've hit the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which means they are dangers everywhere. There are at the very least half a million asteroids here, the largest of which is 300 miles across! These rocks are the leftover bits from the forming of our solar system. Through the asteroids that land on Earth, we've come to understand more about what the solar system looked like as it was forming.
You've made it to Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, at around 89,000 miles in diameter. To put that in perspective, Jupiter could swallow 1,000 Earths! It has the shortest days and spins almost completely upright, meaning its seasons are not as extreme as other planets. It's a swirling gas giant with large oceans of hydrogen. We do not know if Jupiter has a solid core or a super-hot dense soup! The red spot is a giant hurricane that has been raging for at least 150 years, and it has 3 moons.
Time to run rings around Saturn! It is the farthest planet that can be seen from Earth in the night sky with the naked eye. Similar to Jupiter, it is mainly gaseous, and it spins very fast, with superfast winds across the surface. While all the gas giants have rings, none are as famous or beautiful as Saturn's, which are mostly made of ice and rock. Each ring orbits at a different speed, and Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is actually larger than Mercury.
You're well on your way to Uranus. But while running through the darkness of space, take some time to think about how much we've been able to explore in just 30 years!
There it is -- Uranus! It's the only planet that is almost spinning on its side. This means the seasons are extreme, including 21-year long winters. It has 13 faint rings and 27 small moons. The beautiful blue-green is caused by methane gas, but you'll have to keep running around to reach Neptune.
You're approaching Neptune. It was discovered through mathematical predictions rather than observation -- Uranus' orbit didn't behave as expected, so a French mathematician, Urbain Joseph Le Verrier, proposed that there was a nearby planet affecting it. There was, it was Neptune! Neptune is the windiest planet in the solar system, and has 13 known moons.
Congratulations, you've reached the last planet in the solar system! Beyond this lies Pluto, which was reclassified from planet to dwarf planet in 2006. Beyond that, the twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are exploring where nothing from Earth has flown before. Voyager 1 is still transmitting a special message from Earth to anyone who might listen.


Cast listings may contain spoilers
Matt Wieteska
Sound Designer
Mark Pittam