Space Travel and the Problem of Planetary Distances

If you have ever looked at the night sky, on a clear summer night and wondered how long it would take to get to that star, or that star over there, you’re probably not alone.

In space language, they say a star is so many thousand light years away. Well, what is a light year? 1 light year is how long it takes light to travel from star A to planet B. Light travels at around 300,000 kilometers per second! At our current technology, the Space Shuttle can only go at about 17 or 18 thousand miles a hour.

Light from the Sun reaches us in about 8 mintues, so that would be 8 light-minutes. The last planet in our solar system is Pluto, which is about 3.57 billion miles away from Earth. With the Shuttle technology we have today, it would take us about 23 and a half years just to get to Pluto!

If we wanted to go check out the nearest Star, outside of our solar system, which is the Proxima Centauri. This is only 4.2 light years away. Using our fastest Shuttle speed, plus a “sling-shot” boost from Jupiter….. we could reach Proxima Centauri in oh, about 18 thousand years from now.

Anything past that, is beyond human thinking. It would take human millions of years to reach the nearest Galxay, the Canis Major Dwarf Galax. The Andromeda Galaxy is the nearest spiral galaxy, like our Milky Way. So, anything beyond Pluto, you can figure on a very long road trip of hundreds or millions of years just to get there!

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About Madison Ogashi 2 Articles
Hello from America! I'm a Wife, Mother and Gr-mother. I live in a multi-generational home, with an older deaf son, and a special needs Gr-son with the Aspergers form of Autisum, and ADHD. There's never a dull moment around here, at my house!


  1. Yeah, we have nothing near the warp drive of Capt Kirk’s Enterprize. In the Youtubes, the did say they are working on something faster, but it would be years before it’ll be in actual flight, and maybe another generation or 2, to be up with Star Trek like power.

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