(Reuters) - Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin on Tuesday led a ceremonial “first walk” onto the Skywalk, a glass-bottomed walkway that juts out over the rim of the Grand Canyon nearly a mile above the Colorado River Valley.
Following are facts about the project and the canyon.
— The Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped steel and glass pathway cantilevered 70 feet out over the lip of the Grand Canyon, in northern Arizona.
— The peach-colored frame is bolted to the rim of the canyon and could support the weight of more than 70 Boeing 747 passenger jets, according to engineers.
— The walkway is paved with 90 tons of strengthened glass imported from Germany, and hangs some 4,000 feet above the floor of the Colorado River Valley.
— The project was funded by Las Vegas developer David Jin at a cost of $30 million to $40 million, and was built on the ancestral lands of the Hualapai Indian nation.
— Visitors will be charged $25 each to step out on to the walkway in special slippers.
— The Grand Canyon itself runs 277 miles east to west, and ranges in width from a few hundred yards (meters) to 15 miles.
— Contrary to popular belief, it is not the deepest gorge in the world — both the Barranca del Cobre in northern Mexico and Hell’s Canyon in Idaho are deeper.
— The plunging valley is home to several Native American tribes including the Havasupai, the Hopi, the Navajo and the Paiute peoples as well as the Hualapai.