Home Space How long does it take to get to the moon

How long does it take to get to the moon

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Human missions usually take longer than passenger-free missions.

Distance

You’d think that the distance between the earth and the moon is uniform, but that’s not true. The moon revolves around the earth in an elliptical orbit due to which the distance between them keeps varying.

The moon is approximately about 384,400 km away from the earth – roughly fixating a distance of around 30 earths between the planet and the satellite. The specific distance depends on the specific path chosen.

Straight line Distance

The distance from the earth to the moon in a straight line is about 250,000 miles. However, we’re unable to travel in a straight line because the moon constantly moves around the earth.

Illustration of the earth from the moon
Source: NASA

Duration

Man and Machine have made numerous trips to the moon already; some took a painstakingly long time whereas the others were astonishingly fast. It all depends on how you plan to get there. The most important factor is Cruising Speed – the faster you travel, the faster you’ll reach. Three – five days is considered to be the standard duration.

NASA’s unmanned New Horizons Pluto mission is the fastest ever mission till date which launched on the 19th of January 2006 and took just 515 minutes (8 hrs and 35 mins) to reach the lunar surface before zooming off to Pluto at a speed of 58,000 km/hour.

However, one particular mission took over a year! ESA’s SMART-1 lunar probe was launched in September 2003 and took one year, one month and two weeks to reach the moon in November 2004. This was one of the most advanced technologies.

The first manned mission in history took place in 1969. It was the Apollo 11 mission which took 51 hours and 49 minutes to reach the lunar surface. The entire mission took 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes and 5 seconds.

Also, the first spacecraft to make it to the Moon was the Luna 2 which took approximately 34 hours.

How long will a car take to get to the moon?

This would take a while. The moon is 400,000 kilometres away. That is equivalent to driving around the around the word 10 times and will take about 6 months!

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