Want to go to the moon? Don’t have the time for a long trip? Well, the trip gets shortened if you leave from Ecuador. Yes, Mount Chimborazo in Central Ecuador is closer to the moon than Mount Everest which sits between Tibet and Nepal. If you say ,“No way!” you’d be wrong.
The facts are Mount Chimborazo is 20,000+ feet while Mount Everest is 29,000+ feet, so Mount Everest wins while Ecuador loses. Not so fast. The world is not a perfect sphere. Below the equator there is a bulge around the middle of the earth running through Ecuador, Kenya, Tanzania, and Indonesia. If you were to stand on this bulge, you would be about 13 miles closer to the moon than if you were standing at either the North or South Pole.
A number of mountains jut up along this bulge: Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro, and a bunch of lesser known mountains in South America. This bulge is not a perfect bulge, as bulges go. It just so happens Ecuador’s Mount Chimborazo is plunked down on a high point on the bulge, making it actually closer to the moon than Mount Everest. The calculations were done by now deceased Dr. Joseph Senne, former univesity professor and civil engineer. His measurements have been authenticated by the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Mount Chimborazo is a stratovolcano, defined as cone-shaped with steep sides. On a clear day, it can be seen 90 miles away. Despite its claim to fame, it is not the tallest mountain in Ecuador. There are also many taller mountains in the region of Argentina/Chili and even in Ecuador itself. However, Mount Chimborazo is the closest to outer space due to its location on the bulge.
Mountains, such as Everest and Mauna Kea in Hawaii, are some of the tallest mounts in the world, but they sit further from the equator and consequently in a lower stratosphere. Think Mount McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. It’s quite far from the equator. So, Mount Chimborazo wins hands down for being the earth’s closest mountain to the moon.
Are you ready for your flight to the moon? Come see us in Ecuador and we’ll give you a send off.
Fact: Chimborazo’s last known eruption is believed to have occurred around 550 A.D.
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