November 29, 2023

How Long Would It Take To Get To The Sun From Earth?

The Sun is the star that powers our entire Solar System. It creates our heliosphere – the bubble of charged particles and magnetic fields that extends past Pluto to over twice the distance to Earth. It’s also our main source of energy, giving us heat and light.

Earth orbits the Sun at an average distance of 150 million km / 93 million miles, which we call 1 Astronomical Unit (AU). At its closest point to the Sun, known as perihelion, it’s 147 million km / 91.3 million miles away from us. At its farthest point, the aphelion, it’s 152 million km / 94.5 million miles away.

To get to the Sun from Earth, we’d need to travel a very long distance at a very high speed. This is a very difficult task and would require sophisticated propulsion systems. The ESA and NASA mission Solar Orbiter is currently on an elliptical orbit around our star, coming within 1.7 million km / 0.9 million miles of its surface every time it passes by.

It’s not possible to land on the Sun because it is a massive ball of hot plasma that emits intense radiation. Even spacecraft traveling extremely close to the Sun would be vaporized by its immense heat.

However, we can study the Sun from the safety of our spacecraft. For example, the Parker Solar Probe completed its 10th close approach to the Sun in November 2021, coming within 5.3 million miles of the Sun’s surface. It was the fastest spacecraft ever built and used a series of gravity assists from Venus to reach such an incredible speed.

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