About 700 people—more than one percent of Aroostook County’s total population—participated in the building of the steel and fiberglass planets and many donated time to help make this unique vision a reality. Since the formal unveiling on June 14, 2003, the Maine Solar System Model has served as an educational resource for the people of northern Maine and has attracted tourists from all over the country, and even the world, to Aroostook County. The model has been featured in national publications such as Smithsonian magazine, Air and Space magazine, National Public Radio, Science magazine, and AAA New England Journey. Today the model stands as a testament to northern Maine and its commitment to education, community and the can-do attitude that made the model possible.
Dignitaries attending the Solar Model unveiling are from left Dr. Bill Brewer from the University of Illinois, Director of the Planetary Society Wesley Huntress, NASA Astronaut Rex Walheim, Senator Susan Collins, UMPI President Nancy Hensel, Westfield Selectman Richard Watson, Jim Berry and Dr. Kevin McCartney.
Presentation of a gift from NASA. This plaque contains an image of the Atlantis space shuttle, The International Space Station, and a Maine flag.
At the planet Saturn
UMPI announces the construction of a 40-mile long scale model of the solar system to be built along Route 1 from UMPI to Houlton.
Interview with Dr. Kevin McCartney featured in Aroostook Magazine.
The Saturn planet model is placed on its site in Westfield.
Article about the model featured in Connect (Teachers Innovations in K-8 Science, Math and Technology) magazine.
Uranus becomes the last planet to be installed as part of the Maine Solar System Model.
Maine Solar System Model is officially unveiled at the Saturn site in Westfield in a ceremony featuring Senator Susan Collins, astronaut Rex J. Walheim and Planetary Society Director Wesley Huntress.
Article about the model published in SEED (Science is Culture) magazine.
Northern Maine Museum of Science receives $50,000 grant from the IDEAS Grant Program to design two traveling trunks dedicated to the Maine Solar System Model and planetary exploration.
Article in enRoute (Air Canada) travel magazine.
Northern Maine Museum of Science and UMPI hold a 75th birthday party for the planet Pluto at the Maine Solar System Model Pluto site.
UMPI announces its partnership with NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto.
Planetary Scientist Dr. Alan Stem gives talk about NASA’s New Horizons Program at UMPI.
Article about the model published in Portland magazine.
UMPI hosts party to celebrate the launch of NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto and Beyond.
The Maine Solar System Model receives an award from the Maine Tourism Association.
UMPI announces plans to add the Dwarf planets Ceres and Xena to the Maine Solar System Model near Topsfield, about 57 miles south of Houlton.
UMPI holds the first annual Planet Head Day to raise funds for C-A-N-C-E-R (Caring Area Neighbors for Cancer Education and Recovery).
Second model of Pluto added in Littleton at the Southern Aroostook Agricultural Museum to denote its dwarf planet status.
UMPI announces a $3,000 grant provided by the National Space Society to support the “From Pluto at the Speed of Light” run.
Northern Maine hosts “From Pluto at the Speed of Light,” the fastest run ever performed by humans at “light speed” from the model for Pluto to Earth.
Jupiter is temporarily taken down for repairs.
Kevin McCartney publishes blog post about the Maine Solar System Model on the Aroostook County Tourism website.
Jupiter is put back “in orbit”.
Neptune is temporarily taken down for repairs.
Neptune is put back “in orbit”.
Uranus is temporarily taken down for repairs.
Uranus is put back “in orbit”.
Saturn is temporarily taken down for repairs.
Saturn is put back “in orbit”.