Mercury, Solar System

How Long Does It Take To Get To Mercury

How Long Does It Take To Get To Mercury

Mercury is the planet that is located the closest to the sun. It is believed that at the core of the planet, it is metallic. An intermediate layer is also present that is described as rocky and the crust is said to be largely thin and brittle. Scientists believe that there is likely a high level of iron in the composition of this planet. Due to its composition, humans are not able to live on it. However, it is still interesting to calculate how long it would take to travel from Earth to Mercury.

The Distance Between Mercury and Earth

If you ever get a chance to visit Mercury, the first thing to know is that it is approximately 48 million miles from Earth. Of course, where the planets are located in their respective orbits at any given time will ultimately determine the precise distance between the two.

The Time it Would Take to Travel to Mercury

In addition to orbit location, the path of the spacecraft also has an impact on the total distance one would need to travel. One example is the Mariner 10 from back in the 70s. On November 3, 1973, this spacecraft was launched and was headed toward Mercury. By the time it arrived, it was March 29, 1974. So, you can estimate that with the right conditions, it would take you about four months to get from Earth to Mercury. Of course, a spacecraft can travel at great speeds and does not have to stop for bathroom and food breaks like humans in a car.

A trip to Mercury would certainly not be one you could make in a weekend. However, having this information makes it easier to better grasp the sheer size of the solar system and the distance between the planets.

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Jamie is an amateur astronomer and every day space geek.