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9 of the Longest Journeys You Can Take Around the World

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Sometimes, you just want to stretch your journey out as long as possible. So try putting some of the world’s longest journeys on your bucket list. Whether it’s a 17-hour flight or a 740-step escalator, here are nine extra-long rides you can take to make your vacation superlative.

1. THE WORLD’S LONGEST BRIDGE

China’s Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge, part of the high-speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai, stretches more than 102 miles long over the Yangtze River Delta. However, only a little over 5 miles is over open water. 

2. THE WORLD’S LONGEST BRIDGE OVER WATER 

If bridges over land seem a little passé, China also hosts the world’s longest bridge over open water. The 26.4-mile-long Jiaozhou Bay bridge took the title from the longtime record holder, Louisiana’s Lake Ponchartrain Causeway, in 2011. But after complaints from Louisiana that the Jiaozhou Bay bridge cheated by using curves to increase the length, Guinness deemed Lake Ponchartrain Causeway the “Longest Bridge over Water (Continuous)."

3. THE WORLD’S LONGEST ESCALATOR

Image Credit: A.Savin via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

While there are several competing claimants to tallest, one of the best is the escalator in Moscow’s almost 30-story deep Park Pobedy station: It has more than 410 feet of moving stairs, with 740 steps. The ride is about three minutes long. In the Western Hemisphere, travelers have to settle for the D.C. Metro’s Wheaton Station escalator, which stretches 230 feet [PDF]. 

4. THE WORLD’S LONGEST NONSTOP FLIGHT

The Australian airline Qantas currently runs a nonstop flight between Sydney and Dallas-Fort Worth. It traverses almost 8570 miles and takes nearly 17 hours on the westbound flight. But Emirates might be poised to take the title away, with a planned nonstop route between Dubai and Panama City that will cover 8580 miles and take as long as 17.5 hours. Service starts in February

5. THE WORLD’S LONGEST SUBWAY SYSTEM

Image Credit: Shanghai Metro

Shanghai’s metro system is just over 340 miles long, the longest city subway network in the world. However, Beijing plans to expand its subway system to about 406 miles by the end of 2016. (At 600 miles, Seoul’s system is considerably longer, but it’s run by multiple operators over a large area.)

6. THE LONGEST POSSIBLE NEW YORK SUBWAY RIDE ON ONE SWIPE

New York City-based public radio station WNYC pegs the longest possible subway ride on one swipe as a 155-mile journey underground between the Bronx and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. Going from Wakefield-241st Street to Far Rockaway requires 54 transfers, and only the most intense subway lover would ever want to complete it. (For reference, you could travel between the same points with one transfer over the course of two hours, but brevity is not the point here.) 

7. THE WORLD’S TALLEST ELEVATOR RIDE

Image Credit: iStock

One of the biggest issues facing architects trying to build mile-high skyscrapers: current elevator technology can only go so high. The world’s tallest conventional elevator ride right now is inside Dubai’s 2717-foot Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. To get to the tower’s highest floor, you have to take an elevator almost 1655 feet straight up, reaching top speeds of about 22 miles per hour. The building’s emergency elevator is even longer—it travels nearly 1900 feet. 

8. THE WORLD’S LONGEST STRAIGHT ROAD

The longest dead-straight road in the world is Highway 10 in Saudi Arabia, at 162 miles long. In second place is Australia’s Eyre Highway, a 90-mile stretch without a curve in sight. Bring a few particularly gripping podcasts to listen to, because there won’t be much else to pay attention to. 

9. THE WORLD’S LONGEST TRAIN RIDE

According to Guinness, the longest train journey is the 6346 mile semi-regular Moscow, Russia to Pyongyang, North Korea route that takes almost eight days. This route is not currently approved for Westerners to enter North Korea through, though, so most people have to make do with the nearly 5780 mile Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to the far eastern city of Vladivostok.

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NASA/JPL, YouTube
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Space
Watch NASA Test Its New Supersonic Parachute at 1300 Miles Per Hour
NASA/JPL, YouTube
NASA/JPL, YouTube

NASA’s latest Mars rover is headed for the Red Planet in 2020, and the space agency is working hard to make sure its $2.1 billion project will land safely. When the Mars 2020 rover enters the Martian atmosphere, it’ll be assisted by a brand-new, advanced parachute system that’s a joy to watch in action, as a new video of its first test flight shows.

Spotted by Gizmodo, the video was taken in early October at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Narrated by the technical lead from the test flight, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Ian Clark, the two-and-a-half-minute video shows the 30-mile-high launch of a rocket carrying the new, supersonic parachute.

The 100-pound, Kevlar-based parachute unfurls at almost 100 miles an hour, and when it is entirely deployed, it’s moving at almost 1300 miles an hour—1.8 times the speed of sound. To be able to slow the spacecraft down as it enters the Martian atmosphere, the parachute generates almost 35,000 pounds of drag force.

For those of us watching at home, the video is just eye candy. But NASA researchers use it to monitor how the fabric moves, how the parachute unfurls and inflates, and how uniform the motion is, checking to see that everything is in order. The test flight ends with the payload crashing into the ocean, but it won’t be the last time the parachute takes flight in the coming months. More test flights are scheduled to ensure that everything is ready for liftoff in 2020.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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architecture
German Nonprofit Gives $1.1 Million to Restore World’s First Iron Bridge in England
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The UK’s Iron Bridge is more than just a pretty landmark. Built in 1779, it was the world’s first metal bridge, a major milestone in engineering history. Like many aging pieces of infrastructure, though, it’s in dire need of repair—and the funds to shore it up are coming from an unexpected place. According to The Times, a German foundation has pledged to pay for the conservation project as a way to improve relations between England and Germany in the wake of Brexit.

Based in Hamburg, the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation normally funds cultural projects in Germany, but decided to work with the UK’s charitable trust English Heritage to save the Industrial Revolution landmark as a way to reinforce the cultural bond between the two countries. The foundation has pledged more than $1.16 million to the bridge's renovation effort, which will cost an estimated $4.7 million in total. Now, the UK charity only has to raise another $32,800 to fully fund the work.

The Iron Bridge was cast and built by Abraham Darby III, whose grandfather became the first mass-producer of cast iron in the UK in the early 1700s, kickstarting England's Industrial Revolution. It was the world’s first cast iron, single-span arch bridge, weighing more than 400 tons. In 1934, it was declared a historic monument and closed to traffic, and the Ironbridge Gorge was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986.

“The Iron Bridge is one of the most important—if not the most important—bridges ever built,” English Heritage CEO Kate Mavor told the press.

The techniques used to erect the Iron Bridge were later adopted throughout Europe, including in Germany, leading the Hermann Reemtsma Foundation to call it “a potent reminder of our continent's common cultural roots and values.”

The already-underway repair project includes replacing elements of the bridge, cleaning and repairing others, and painting the entire structure. Since it sits above a fast-flowing river where erecting scaffolding is difficult, the project is especially complex. It’s scheduled to be completed in 2018.

[h/t The Times]

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