Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Putting Astronomical distances in perspective...

In space distances are vaaaaast. An atlas gives us a very distorted view
of the solar system because it is impossible to show the sizes or
distances to scale.

This picture makes an attempt to show the sizes to scale.

Let us now understand how large the distances actually are...

Let us assume the distance from Earth to Sun is 1 cm.
( The actual distance is 15 crore Km)

At this units, our spacecrafts can travel one inch per year.

Earth to Moon distance is just .001 cm ( roughly the thickness of a
hair) ( Travel time = 2 days)

It costs a lot to transport material from Earth to Space. If you
want to courier a parcel to moon, it would cost you Rs. 6 lacs/ Kg.

Earth to Mars : Half an inch : 6 months travel time

Earth to Jupiter = 2 inches :: 2 years travel time

Earth to Nepture = 1 foot ( Voyager took 12 years to pass Neptune)

Our solar system is a foot in radius. It will take us 12 years to move
out of our solar system.

Our nearest star Proxima centauri is 2 miles away.

The nearest Earth like planet is 10 miles away. It will take us quite
sometime to get there !


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