Say we had a couple of decades to make a sculpture, how detailed could we make a sculpture of the earth the size of a soccer ball?

Is it technologically possible to create human sculptures in proportion to our scaled earth such that can be seen using microscopes as we see humans from satellites in space?

If not, what could we see?

And if humans cannot be made, how big should we make the earth?

  • Hi RajanArak, welcome to Arts & Crafts. Is this a question into what is technologically possible, about the amount of realistic detail one can possibly add at all, or about creating a realistic looking model within a certain limited time frame?
    – Joachim
    Jul 3, 2020 at 8:08
  • @Joachim This is a question about what is technologically possible, the amount of realistic detail one could add at all?
    – RajanArak
    Jul 3, 2020 at 15:56
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    Based on your comments, it isn't clear exactly what you're asking. It sounds like Arts & Crafts may not be the best place for the question. You ask about scale relative to a soccer ball, and Zeus's answer addresses that. Then you ask about creation techniques that would allow adding microscopic detail so that human-sized objects would be visible, and magnification techniques that would allow viewing atom-sized detail. If you could see humans, there would be trillions of details large enough to see, that would require millennia to create. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Jul 3, 2020 at 17:23
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    Arts & Crafts focuses on actually making things with your hands, so the level of detail you describe, and the time frame needed to create the detail even if it was feasible, is outside the site's scope. It's an interesting question, but I'm voting to close it here. As a theoretical question, it may fit on a site like Astronomy.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 3, 2020 at 17:23
  • 5
    I’m voting to close this question; see comment.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 3, 2020 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


You could only strive to make as smooth a ball as possible. Maybe just paint it.

The tallest mountain on that scale will be 0.11 [m radius of the soccer ball] / 6371000 [m mean radius of the Earth] * 8848 [m Everest height] ≈ 0.15 mm. A thickness of a sheet of good paper.

  • Apologies I updated my answer. I was asking if it was technologically possible to create a scaled earth over several decades: such that if we used a microscope we could see the mountains of earth and (for more specialized telescopes) even humans made of atoms.
    – RajanArak
    Jul 3, 2020 at 16:06
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    @RajanArak, within the scope of the Arts & Crafts site, the smallest sculptures people make are probably on a grain of rice or the tip of a pencil lead. That would be a scale of roughly 1:250 for a human. At that scale, the earth would be 32 miles in diameter, and it would take millennia, not decades, to sculpt all of the visible detail.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 3, 2020 at 17:50
  • @RajanArak Over several decades? Are you actually asking after the amount of detail that would occur naturally or organically after an extended amount of time?
    – Joachim
    Jul 3, 2020 at 20:28

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