Lifestyle

How Long Would it Take to Travel to Every Planet?

Today, Mars One announced the final 100 candidates chosen for its one-way trip to Mars, and 33 Americans made the cut. The non-profit—based out of the Netherlands—would like to establish a colony on the red planet and plans on doing so without NASA's help, because NASA has their own thing going on.

So why aren't we there already? We have rockets, we have Soylent. Mars has ice we can melt to get water to mix the Soylent. What's the problem?! Well, it's not easy to get to. Space is kind of infinite and it takes a long time to get to places.

Check out these transit times to each of our planets, according to the Planetary Science Institute.

1. Mercury, 6.5 Years (Messenger)

We did our first flyby of Mercury in the 1970s, and it took something like 147 days to get there. But if you want to actually travel there, you need to slow down to its orbital speed, which takes some serious time.

2. Venus, 15 Months (Magellan)

Despite Venus being our next door neighbor, it's still 25,000,000 miles at its closest (and 162,000,000 miles at its farthest). Fortunately no one wants to go there because it's super gross.

3. Moon, 3 Days (Apollo 11)

We've done this before. Unless we get a rocket more powerful than the Saturn V, which would be extremely impressive, it's going to take three days. Which is fine, it's the moon. Also, yes, we know it's not technically a planet.

4. Mars, 7 Months (Opportunity)

We've sent a few rovers over, and travel time has depended on where we were with our orbit compared to Mars. We've done 7 months, but it can take considerably longer if our cycles aren't aligned. Mars is far, and if a pair of the astronauts enjoyed themselves a little too much, the spacecraft we send could land with one extra.

5. Jupiter, 6 Years (Galileo)

We're never going to travel to Jupiter, because it's mostly made of gas. However, we may travel to Europa, one of its moons. Travel time to Jupiter takes around 6 years, and we've done it the hard way—using the Earth's gravity to slingshot the Galileo probe twice to make the trip. You have to resort to some cool sorcery when you don't have an extra rocket booster.

6. Saturn, 7 Years (Cassini)

Cassini took the better part of a decade to make the trip, launching in 1997 and landing in 2004. It saw most of the planets in between, and used Jupiter's gravity to make the final push. Interestingly it wasn't alone, and carried the Huygens lander, which successfully landed on Saturn's moon Titan. That's completely mind blowing. Cassini is still active after 17 years.

7. Uranus, 8.5 Years (Voyager)

Voyager made the trip in a little under a decade. However, it kept going and is long out of our solar system. And you thought the trip to Uranus was just a zipper away!

8. Neptune (Voyager)

Want to go to Neptune? It'll take 12 years. Fortunately, there's no good reason anyone would want to go there.

10. Pluto, 9.5 Years (New Horizons)

A probe we launched in 2006 made its closest pass by Pluto on July 14, 2015. It's nice that someone's still paying attention to the little dwarf out there.


Ethan Wolff-Mann is the Deputy Editor at Supercompressor. He is a rocket man burning out his fuse up there alone. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.