A Publication of WTVP

With Bradley University and Caterpillar Inc. joining forces with NASA to create 3D-printed habitats for deep space, the Mars/Peoria connection couldn’t be stronger. And while humans won’t set foot on the Red Planet until the 2030s, you can actually visit Mars right now… without leaving town.

That’s because the world's most complete large-scale model of the solar system is centered right here in Peoria. At a scale factor of 99 million to one, the Peoria Riverfront Museum's Community Solar System model covers 6,000 square miles of central Illinois—featuring the Sun and eight planets, plus five dwarf planets and numerous unnamed comets spread across the globe.

At its center is the Sun, appropriately depicted on the museum's Sun Plaza. Mars is just over 141 million miles away—or about 1.4 miles from the museum, near the Detweiller Marina playground along the Peoria Park District Rock Island Greenway. Discover all the celestial bodies depicted in the Peoria solar system at iBi