Let’s pause a minute, in space, to get it right

Out there, in space, it’s not like being on the highway, going from one side of the country to the other.

That, effectively, is only a few thousand miles, or kilometers as we measure distance in this country.

But late at night, and astrophysics, or astrology, or whatever the science of space is called, is not a subject to take up, particularly when you’re tired.

The other night I was tired, and confused, and hence got all my numbers muddled up. The thing is, when numbers go up to billions, with all them zeros, it could be confusing for everyone.

Or maybe it was just me.

But, the first constant is the speed of light. That’s approximately 1,079,251,200 km per hour, Pretty fast, eh.

But, as I’m told, nothing can go faster than the speed of light.

So, in this story, it’s a given.

Space ship speeds, in this story, are measured as SSPD’s.

SSPD 1,000 is the speed of light. This new spaceship will not go that fast. It is capable of SSPD 5, but even then, it’s not recommended. So, we are, from the beginning, are going to accept that it will go SSPD 4. Trials got it to 4.5, but that was when the design engineers were aboard and could fix any problems.

So how fast are the SSPD increments?

SSPD 1 is 1,079,251 km per hour. SSPD 2 is double that. That’s the fastest cruising speed the current ships can travel.

This new ship goes twice as fast so at SSPD 4 it can cruise at 4,317,004 km per hour.

Now, where I got everything wrong, is the distance of the planets from earth, and the time it would take to get there.

Mars: about 56 million km when in line between the earth and the sun, but has a min of 54.5 million km

Venus: between 38 million and 261 million km

Mercury: averaging about 77 million km to a max of 222 million km

Jupiter: from a min of 588 million to a max of 968 million km

Saturn: from a min of 1.3 billion to 1.7 billion km

Uranus: from a min of 2.57 billion to 3.15 billion km

Neptune: from a min of 4.3 billion to 4.7 billion km

Since in the story we are stopping at Mars briefly, the time it might take, given the position of mars at the time (about 60 million km), could take us about 14 hours.

As for the ultimate destination, Neptune, at 4.5 billion km approximately, it is going to take 1,042 hours, or 43.5 days.

Hopefully this time I have some semblance of credible measurements and times.

Now you can go back and read the amended text of the previous episode, corrected for distance, speed, and time.

It is here:

https://bit.ly/33HDMek

© Charles Heath 2020

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