This module is a space travel calculator based on the classical method (Newton) and the relativity method (Einstein). With this tool you can calculate how long it will take with your spaceship to reach a remote planet or a nearby star in a quite accurate and realistic way. This module is for science fiction settings and role playing games.
In order to have an estimation of the distances in space, we are going to offer some data of interest to be able to improvise:
- The distance between nearby planets is 228,000,000 km or about 0.4 AU.
- The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 1 AU.
- A solar system is about 50 AU in diameter.
- The Milky Way (the galaxy in which the Earth is located) has a diameter of 100,000 light years.
- The distance between the Earth and the center of the Galaxy is 25,000 light years.
- From one star to another, parsecs are used in role-playing games (1 Parsec = 3.26 light years = 206265 AU).
- The distance from one galaxy to another is 2,537,000 light years.
- The farthest galaxy from our galaxy is 13,400,000,000,000 light years away.
This module uses cosmos-scale units of measurement that are abbreviated. Here we give the keys for each of them:
- m (meters)
- km (kilometers)
- yd (yard)
- mi (mile)
- au (astronomical unit)
- ly (light year)
- pc (parsec)
- mpc (megaparsec)
- mly (mega light year)
- m/s2 (meters per second squared)
- ft/s2 (feet per second squared)
- g (G-force)
- c (speed of light)
With this data you will be able to improvise the distances between your planets. For example:
- If we want our players to travel from one planet to another that is in the same solar system but there are 2 planets in between we can put that it is approximately 1.2 AU away. If you want to generate solar systems with more specific distances you can use our Solar Systems Generator. Within the same solar system, having this 50 AU of maximum diameter, you will be able to estimate how far an object can be from a point. For example, an asteroid can be 39 AU away from the planet where the players are located.
- If our players are going to travel from one solar system to another, they will be 1 parsec away. But if they want to travel to a solar system that is more than 15 stars away, it will be 15 parsec.
- When traveling to the center of the galaxy (where the highest concentration of stars is located and also the oldest ones with ancestral planets) we can use the distance 25,000 light years, and once there move in parsecs between systems.
Some of the example ships are intellectual property of other brands and may not be accurate, as they are estimated cases for science fiction. In case you want to add the characteristics of the ships in a more accurate way we recommend to go to the official information of those brands and use their data in the calculator. This module is inspired by the calculator Space Travel Calculator.
Simply enter the necessary data for the voyage or choose example ships and distances. Once the variables have been selected, click on "Calculate".
The result will depend on the chosen method. As a general rule it will show the elapsed time, the fuel required, the maximum speed the ship has reached, the kinetic energy and the mass energy of the ship. The fuel required is based on the type of the ship's engine and its efficiency. Depending on the technology used the amount of J/gram of fuel will vary. This data is optional and subjective, as each science fiction world has its own energy and way of measuring it.
Two methods have been used:
- Newton: Newton's classical mechanics is a theory that describes the behavior of moving bodies at speeds much slower than the speed of light. This theory includes Newton's laws, which describe how force affects the motion of bodies. According to classical mechanics, an object in motion will maintain a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external force.
- Einstein: Einstein's theory of special relativity is a theory that describes the behavior of matter and energy at high velocities, close to the speed of light. This theory includes the law of conservation of energy and the law of conservation of linear momentum, as well as the idea that time and space are two aspects of the same concept called space-time. According to the theory of special relativity, as an object accelerates toward velocities approaching the speed of light, time passes more slowly aboard the object compared to the time perceived by an observer at rest. In addition, length and time contract and the mass of the object increases as it approaches the speed of light.
Although this calculator allows you to add speeds faster than the speed of light, it is important to keep in mind that, according to Einstein's theory of special relativity, nothing can exceed the speed of light. This means that, although it is theoretically possible to imagine space travel at speeds faster than light, there is no known formula that can be used to calculate such travel.
In Einstein's theory of special relativity, the speed of light is an absolute limit that cannot be exceeded. This is because, as an object approaches the speed of light, its mass increases enormously and it would require an infinite amount of energy to accelerate it further. Furthermore, according to the theory of special relativity, time and space are greatly distorted at high speeds, so it is difficult to predict what travel at speeds faster than light would be like.