How Long Does It Take To Get To Jupiter (And Why)?

Exact Answer: About 600 Days – 2000 Days

Everyone is aware of the planets in our solar system. One of those planets is named Jupiter. It is the largest planet in the solar system and comes fifth in position from the Sun after Mars and before Saturn. The planet Jupiter is said to be named after the Roman god of the same name. It is named so as Roman god Jupiter was the king of the gods, just like the planet Jupiter which is quite huge as compared to the other planets in the solar system.

Jupiter is a gas giant that has two and a half times more mass than all the planets revolving in the solar system combined. It is said to be three hundred and eighteen times the mass of the Earth. It is constituted of hydrogen and helium gases. Pioneer 10 was the first-ever spacecraft to reach Jupiter in 1973. Since then, numerous efforts have been made by humans to visit Jupiter. It takes approximately 6 years to reach Jupiter.

How Long Does It Take To Get To Jupiter?

The first spacecraft to visit Jupiter from Earth was Pioneer 10 by NASA. It took off on 3rd March 1972 from Earth and reached there on 3rd December 1973. This entire journey constituted of six hundred and forty days. After Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11 was launched a year later. It completed its journey to Jupiter in six hundred and six days.

After the Pioneer series, Voyager 1 was launched which reached Jupiter in about five hundred and forty days whereas Voyager 2 took about six hundred and eighty-eight days in total. Thus, from all the past ventures made from Earth to Jupiter, and can elicit that it takes about five hundred and fifty days to six hundred and fifty days to get to Jupiter.

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All the previous attempts of reaching Jupiter were only fly by meaning, the spacecraft flew past the planet without actually entering into its orbit. A slower journey will be required by the spacecraft if it plans on entering Jupiter’s orbit. Such a journey was undertaken by NASA’s another spacecraft named Galileo on 8th October 1989. It took about two thousand and forty-two days to reach Jupiter by reaching it on 8th December 1995.

The latest spacecraft to Jupiter was Juno by NASA, launched on 5th August 2011, completing its journey in about one thousand and ninety-five days. Several other missions are scheduled in 2022 by the European space agency to reach Jupiter by 2030.

Name Of Spacecrafts That Reached JupiterDuration
Pioneer 10640 days
Pioneer 11606 days
Voyager 1546 days
Voyager 2 688 days
Galileo2,242 days
Juno1,795 days

Why Does It Take So Long To Get To Jupiter?

The journey to any planet depends on a variety of factors. In the same way, the time taken to get to Jupiter will be determined by factors like speed of spacecraft, distance traveled, and the path selected to reach the destination. As Jupiter is fifth in position from the Sun, the distance between Earth and Jupiter is extremely huge. In 1989, it used to take over 6 years to reach Jupiter from Earth.

The more curved a path is, the more time will be taken by a spacecraft to reach its desired location. The curves of the path increase the time and the journey becomes longer. The more straight and direct the route is, the lesser time it will take to reach the destination. The duration of the journey will also depend on the speed and velocity of the spacecraft.

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Thus, depending on how fast the spacecraft is, what path it is going to follow, and several other factors, one can conclude that it can take anywhere from 3 – 8 years for any spacecraft from Earth to get to Jupiter.

Conclusion

The distance from the Earth to Jupiter is about 588 million miles when both planets are at their closest points. At their furthest, the distance between both is 968 million kilometers. Spacecraft cannot possibly land on the surface of Jupiter as the entire planet is made of various gases. Hence, spacecraft fly by the planet.

One can reach Jupiter in about 600 days if the spacecraft just wants to fly past the planet without actually getting into its orbit. But if the spacecraft does enter into Jupiter’s orbit, it can take up to 2000 days to get to Jupiter from Earth.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0019103509001912
  2. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/JA086iA10p08797
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