This 3D map of Earth, carved by IBM's new nanometer-scale silicon milling machine, could fit alongside 999 other Earths onto a single grain of salt. Here's a look at the machine behind it:

Using heat and pressure, this nanomill can carve a substrate with single nanometer accuracy, and pretty quickly to boot. This Earth took but 2 minutes and 23 seconds to manufacture—not much slower than the process of producing a single color page on a home printer from a decade+ ago.

From the team:


"Potential applications range from fast prototyping for CMOS nanoelectronics to creating prototype optical components and meta-materials, from fabricating 3D nanoparticles to shape-matching templates for the self-assembly of nanoscale objects such as nanorods or nanotubes."

Also, the inevitable remix of at least one classic Disney ride. [IBM via boingboing]