Concept

French Geodesic Mission to the Equator

Summary
The French Geodesic Mission to the Equator (Expédition géodésique française en Équateur), also called the French Geodesic Mission to Peru and the Spanish-French Geodesic Mission, was an 18th-century expedition to what is now Ecuador carried out for the purpose of performing an arc measurement, measuring the length of a degree of latitude near the Equator, by which the Earth radius can be inferred. The mission was one of the first geodesic (or geodetic) missions carried out under modern scientific principles, and the first major international scientific expedition. Background In the 18th century, there was significant debate in the scientific community, specifically in the French Academy of Sciences (Académie des sciences), as to whether the circumference of the Earth was greater around the Equator or around the poles. French astronomer Jacques Cassini held to the view that the polar circumference was greater. Louis XV of France and the academy sent two expeditions t
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