When Are We Going to Get There?

If it’s space travel you’re complaining about, the answer is ‘Not in your lifetime.’ /

Let The Behemoth prepare you for next summer’s family vacation. Already? Yes. You’ll soon see why you need to start planning now.

We’re not talking about a trip to Disney World or the Grand Canyon. We’re talking about something really exotic. Like going to the moon.

In a 747, going at about 500 miles per hour. That would take about 18 days, and no McDonald’s stops along the way. In a Saturn V rocket (which scoots along at 5,000 miles an hour), it would take a mere two days. Take the rocket.

But the moon is boring, your kids say—who wants to go there? Okay, how about a trip to Venus, our closest neighboring planet. It has a certain literary allure. But dump the 747 and the Saturn V, and get a ride on an Atlas V, as well as a sling shot boost from Earth. Now we’re humming along at 165,000 miles an hour (about 300 times faster than a 747). 72 days. So you may want to leave as soon as school gets out.

But Venus is hot in the summer. Well, it’s hot all the time. How about Mars instead? Same ride? 133 days. The whole summer shot just getting there! This may not work unless your kids can start school in winter, since the return trip is just as long.

You may be getting the idea that space is a big place. You have no idea.

Jupiter, the next planet out, has a lot of moons (63 to be exact), so the night sky is said to be pretty interesting. But it would take three years to get there. High school and half of college lost by the time you get back.

And on it goes until we get to Pluto, where 18 years are gobbled up in transportation to and from. An entire childhood. Again, that’s at 165,000 miles an hour.

But what if you wanted to take a close-up shot of the next ...

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Also in this Issue

Issue 14 / January 22, 2015
  1. Editors’ Note
  2. Water Is Weird

    And its strange behaviors make life possible. /

  3. The Mundane and the Almighty

    Finding God in speech, a bath, and a meal. /

  4. The Peace of Wild Things

    Resting in the grace of the world. /

  5. Wonder on the Web

    Links to amazing stuff

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