The discovery of a Solar System with seven planets similar to Earth relatively close to Earth, at "only" 40 light years away, is, without a doubt an important moment for astronomers and for people who hope to find life on other planets. Would be possible for humans to visit these planets? writes a material that analyzes how long we would need to get to the Star Trappist-1 with the current technology.

How long would people need to reach Trappist-1 Solar System with today's technology?

Trappist-1 is about 40 light years away. This means a distance of about 369 trillion kilometers.

If we could travel at light speed, we needed 40 years to reach them. But we don't have the technology to achieve such speeds. However, people have built and sent into space a series of very fast vehicles. Knowing the speed of movement of a space vehicle, we can calculate how long we would need to travel the distance to Trappist-1.

Space probes are too small to transport human crews. For example, New Horizons, which has a very high speed would take about 817,000 years to reach Trappist-1. Juno probe, belonging to NASA, would need 158,600 years to get there if it would travel with maximum speed. Voyager probe would get there in 685 130 years.

People could only get to Trappist-1 with spaceships. But how long this trip would take?

Astronauts have traveled with the spacecrafts belonging to NASA which had been withdrawn in 2011 after 30 years of missions, and they have not been replaced with a similar vehicle. These spacecraft were orbiting Earth with a maximum speed of 28,160 km per hour.

If people went to Trappist-1 Solar System, they would need about 1.5 million years to reach their destination.

Starshot Breakthrough Initiative

The fastest way to get there might be the one offered by Starshot Breakthrough Initiative, supported by Professor Stephen Hawking, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, and Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The three announced last year the launch of an ambitious project space mission to the nearest Star System from the Sun, Alpha Centauri. This mission proposes to launch a flotilla of hundreds, perhaps even thousands of mini spacecraft in space, powered by lasers on Earth. These should reach a maximum speed of 20% of the speed of light, and they should reach Alpha Centauri in 20 years.

A maximum speed of 20% of the speed of light is really impressive - 216 million km per h - that is about 4,000 times greater than the speed of the probe New Horizons! The spacecrafts traveling at this speed could reach Trappist-1 less than two centuries.

So, let's not make vacation plans on these planets anytime soon!