A curious mind likes to wander, and the Solar System is one of the most magnificent places to explore. If you were to travel the space, how long would it take to get to Jupiter? And not just by spacecraft that has already reached it. Let’s get creative here… How about a car? How long would that take? Or a walk on foot to the planet.
Spacecrafts flying by Jupiter need about 2 years
This planet was visited by numerous spacecraft, with the first one, the Pioneer 10 arriving into the Jovian system (system of Jupiter) and making a flyby in 1973. A year later, Pioneer 11 followed.
Pioneer 10 took 640 days to reach Jupiter and Pioneer 11 took only 606 days.
Voyager 1 was the next to make a flyby in 1979, followed by Voyager 2 in the same year. The first one took 545 days and the second 688 days.
Want to get in orbit? It takes longer
The first spacecraft to get in orbit of Jupiter was Galileo. This spacecraft was launched in 1989 and it took 2.242 days (over 6 years) for this spacecraft to reach orbit and stay in orbit. Why this long? It’s easy to speed past the planet, but you can’t go too fast if you want to stay in orbit.
Juno, was launched in August 2011 and it took it 4 years and 11 months to arrive at its destination.
If you want to stay in orbit, you’re looking at a long journey.
How long would it take to get to Jupiter by car?
Now that we have answers to the somewhat realistic scenarios, let’s dabble at some fun ones.
Let’s take into account the distance between the Earth and Jupiter when they are closest together 365 million miles (588 million kilometers) as this would be the smartest distance to plan your voyage on.
Let’s ignore the few obvious obstacles here, from the simple things to there being no roads in space, no gas tanks, and things not being linearly still while you drive your space car. Let’s imagine you are able to drive these 365 million miles (588 million kilometers) in a straight line, 24/7 (no bathroom breaks or sleep, sorry), with no astronomical objects in your way. Just a smooth drive, at a nice average highway speed limit of about 80 mph / 130 km/h.
Even if the stars aligned and everything went perfectly, you would still need over 830 years to reach Jupiter.
How about by foot?
No car? No problem! Let’s take a walk! With the same impossibly ideal conditions in mind, it would take an average walker 21.600 years, an average jogger 14.400, and an average runner 12.000 years to reach Jupiter.
If Usain Bolt could sustain his top speed all the way to the planet, he would reach Jupiter in just 2456 years.
How long does it take light from Jupiter to reach Earth?
Depending on the distance between the two it takes light anywhere from as little as about 33 minutes when it is closest to Earth to about 54 minutes when Jupiter is the furthest away from Earth.
Want to know more about this gas giant? Read through these cool Jupiter facts.