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Proving grounds

April 22, 2009

Today, NASA and your friendly Kennedy Space Center (I don’t know, they seem friendly) put up a series of photos from space, as only they can do, in honor of Earth Day.

The image you’re looking at here is not a crop circle, nor a particularly pointless highway – it’s a test track ring. The Nardo ring, or more accurately, Nardò Prototipo Proving Grounds, runs through a otherwise pastoral section of Southern Italy.nardoringThe track is banked against the rest of the landscape to such an extent that driving at each section’s “neutral speed” will require no turning of the steering wheel. Those velocities range from 100-240km/h. As the cars and trucks whip around the track at these speeds, farmer walk through underpasses to get to sections of their farm land, in the northern inner sections of the perfect circle.

Large enough to be visible from space, Nardo gets put up on NASA and other satellite imaging websites a lot, giving groups like CLUI even more to talk about than your odd particle accelerator.

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