It will take us over 74 179 years to reach the most proximate star 8/23/2015 •

It will take us over 74 179 years to reach the most proximate star

The humankind hasn't deliberately explored the Solar System yet, but people are dreaming already of travelling to other stars. We have estimated the time imaginary space travelers need to reach the most proximate cosmic objects.

To calculate the time of such space journeys we have used the parameters of "Voyager-1", a space probe launched in 1977 to explore Uranus and Saturn as well as the Solar System periphery.

Another mission of the probe is to carry a message for extraterrestrial civilizations. There is a golden disk on board the probe that contains recordings of music, nature sounds and phrases in 55 languages. It also contains photographs of earthly creatures and landscapes, and schemes reflecting our scientific knowledge.

Voyager has already crossed the bounds of the Solar System and entered the interstellar space. Currently, it is the most distant (19 billion km or 12.8 billion mi from the Earth) and the fastest (17 km or 11.5 mi per second) artificial object. The charge of its batteries will have been completely exhausted by 2025.

So, here is approximate flight time from the Earth to the closest cosmic objects provided that a spacecraft travels along a straight line:

Earth – Mars: 2.1 months.

Earth – Venus: 2.5 months.

Earth – Mercury: 3.9 months.

Earth – Jupiter: 17.1 months.

Earth – Saturn: 2.5 years.

Earth – Uranus: 5.84 years.

Earth – Neptune: 8.56 years.

Earth – Proxima Centauri: 74 179 years.

Earth – Bernard's Star: 104 765 years.

Earth – Sirius: 151 346 years.

Earth – Procyon: 200 389 years.

Earth – Altair: 259 310 years.

Earth – North Star: 7 625 327 years.

As you see, a journey even to the closest star will take too long for any human being. But it may be possible for a human colony that will arrive at the final destination in about 2 967 generations (1 generation ≈ 25 years).


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