How long would it take to get to Jupiter?

You will be able to spy Jupiter in the sky this week (Picture: Space Frontiers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Stargazers are in for a treat this week, as they will be able to see Jupiter in the night sky.

The largest planet in our Solar System can be viewed with the naked eye on the evening of Thursday, August 19.

But how far away is the big orange beauty, and how long does it take spaceships to reach the fifth planet from the Sun?

Here is all you need to know.

How far is Jupiter from Earth?

When the two planets are at their closest point, the distance to Jupiter is only 365 million miles (588 million kilometers), according to Space.com.

At its furthest, the planet lies 601 million miles (968 million km) away.

Jupiter will look like a small orange star (Picture: SSPL/Getty Images)

How long would it take to get to Jupiter?

Spacecrafts can’t actually land on Jupiter’s surface due to it’s gaseous design – they can only fly near it.

The amount of time it would take to get to Jupiter really depends on many factors including how fast you are going, the path you take in space, and where the planets are located in their orbits.

For example, the Galileo spacecraft launched in October 1989, and took just over six years to reach the gas giant, arriving in December 1995.

The craft took the scenic route, traveling a distance of 2.5 billion miles around Venus, Earth, and the asteroid Gaspra to reach Jupiter.

Galileo took six years to reach Jupiter (Picture: NASA/Space Frontiers/Getty Images)

Voyager 1, on the other hand, took only two years to reach the planet, because it was designed to take advantage of an ideal layout of outer space.

The 2006 New Horizons mission took a more direct path after its launch, and took just over 13 months.

Juno, which launched on August 5, 2011, took five years to travel to the gas giant, arriving on July 4, 2016.

The European Space Agency plans to launch its JUpiter ICy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission to Jupiter in June 2022 – the cruise will take around 7.6 years.

NASA plans to launch the Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa in the next few years, with an estimated travel time of three years.


MORE : Space flights from the UK ready to launch next year


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