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The International Space Station is a marvel of engineering. Those of you who saw Gravity might remember it as the place Sandra Bullock takes refuge in after her initial trip around space with George Clooney who sacrifices himself so that she can live.
Nevertheless, the space station is a wonder to behold not just because of its craft but because of what it represents, cooperation among humans to reach a common goal. It was built by the Soviet Union and the USA even when they were fighting each other during the mid and late 20th century. Pat Acton, who has been building models of real life rockets sent into space has decided to pay tribute to this wonderful machine by building a smaller space station on earth out of matchsticks.
The model uses 282000 matchsticks and 8 gallons of glue to create an almost perfect replica of the ISS. The solar panels, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, communication components have all been constructed in what looks to be an incredibly detailed and tediously meticulous piece of work. And the time it took to build, 1950 hours, speaks for itself. Thats a little under 3 months time (81 1/4 days). At 4.1 m long and 2.8 m wide, the model is 26 times smaller than the ISS. In addition to that the workstations of the astronauts including their storage spaces, sleeping spaces, toilets and computer stations have been built by Acton too.
Acton’s technique is also worthy of mention. He uses flameless matchsticks that he lays out in rows and columns on to Plexiglass sheets with glue and makes sheets out of them to shape them in to anything he wants. His obsessive attention to detail and dedication has allowed his work to be featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums in North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.