Starting at any point on Earth, how far can a person walk without crossing any major bodies of water?
You might start by wondering how long it would take to cross the contiguous United States—a feat made of its own in the 1994 movie “Forrest Gump”—and how many miles it would take. The shortest path, from California to Georgia, is a long one 2,339 miles (3,764 km) and can take three to five months, although it depends on your pace, while the longest route, from Northern California to Maine, is 3,527 miles (5,676 km) and usually takes six months or more.
However, the breadth of the continental United States pales in comparison to the length of the Pan-American Highway, an actual road network that stretches nearly 19,000 miles (30,500 km) from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. While the route, which involves walking across the Panama Canal via any bridge or lock, is not entirely traversable by car—the Columbia and Panama routes are separated by 66 miles (106 km) of dense forest known as the Darién Gap—it was completed on foot twice by Different adventurers.
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The first person to make the voyage from Argentina to Alaska was former British sailor George Megan, who began what would be a 1,019-mile (30,608 kilometre) multi-part walk in 1977, and eventually concluded it. 2425 days later in 1983. And Holly Harrison, a former US Army Ranger, did the same Journey north on foot in 2018It completed a direct march of more than 14,481 miles (23,305 kilometres) in just 530 days.
Another contender for the longest possible journey on foot, as depicted by intrepid Reddit user In the middle of 2020 b Google Maps — which the Darién Gap is impassable — begins in Cape Town, South Africa, and ends 13,735 miles (22,104 km) to the northeast in Magadan, Russia.
But if someone wanted to walk in a straight line, equipped with virtual hiking boots that allowed them to completely ignore impassable terrain, such as the mountains of Central Asia, they would instead find their journey starting in China and ending in southwest Portugal, two engineers showed in the results published in Prepress database arXiv in 2018.
In 2018, Rohan Chabokswar, an electrical engineer and physicist at Collins Aerospace Applied Research and Technology in Cork, Ireland, and Kushal Mukherjee, an engineer at IBM Research in New Delhi, calculated the longest straight overland route that does not intersect any objects. from water.
Their 6,984-mile (11,240 km) course was created as part of a path-finding exercise. Longest possible straight line path over water, begins in southeast China. It then passes through 13 additional countries – Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Spain – before ending near Sagres, Portugal. When put across the earth, then this path forms a large circle, a curved shape made by all straight line paths on the sphere.
“The authors acknowledge that it was a recreational exercise, and they have a caveat, as using a large circular path is widely seen as the shortest distance on Earth between two points on our elliptical planet,” Dan Cole, senior cartographer and GIS coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution But he was not involved in the study, he told Live Science in an email. “So, I agree that the path calculated by Chabokswar and Mukherjee is probably the longest possible straight path above the Earth.”
Originally published on Live Science.