In their 1981 book Facts and Fallacies, Chris Morgan and David Langford note that the biblical reference to the “four corners of the earth” would apply equally well if the world were a tetrahedron.
In a similar spirit, as American airman Joseph Portney was flying over the North Pole in 1968 he wondered, “What if the Earth were … ?” He made sketches of 12 fanciful alternate Earths and gave them to Litton’s Guidance & Control Systems graphic arts group, which created models that were featured in the company’s Pilots and Navigators Calendar of 1969. This made an international sensation, and Portney’s creations were subsequently published for use in classrooms worldwide, inviting students to ponder what life would be like on a cone or a dodecahedron.
Portney graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and went on to work for Litton on high-altitude navigation problems — for example, designing control systems that could guide an aircraft around one of these strange worlds.