Here's How Many Years It Would Take To Travel To Uranus

With NASA's upcoming missions to the moon and Mars just around the corner, many are wondering how long it would take to travel to other planets in our solar system. One major reason that we haven't sent astronauts to another planet is distance. The solar system is a lot bigger than most people realize, and this creates complications for space travel.

Uranus is almost 2 billion miles away from the sun, making traveling there a bit difficult, even with the fastest spacecrafts available. It is so far away that it takes light from the sun 2.7 hours to reach the planet (via NASA). As one of the furthest planets from the sun, it takes quite a bit of time to travel there. But traveling to any planet is a bit more complicated than the time it takes to fly through space. Traveling to another planet is not a straight shot, and requires careful planning in order to be successful.

Uranus' distance from Earth varies as they both orbit the sun

In order to travel to any planet, the orbit of both Earth and the planet will need to be considered. This is because each planet has a different orbital speed, resulting in different distances between two planets at any given time. This becomes extremely evident when looking at two planets that are far away from each other, such as Uranus and Earth. At its closest, Uranus is 1.6 billion miles from Earth, but at its furthest it is around 1.98 billion miles away (via

This change in distance makes determining the time it takes to reach Uranus a bit difficult. As a spacecraft travels to the planet, the planet will continue orbiting the sun. Space organizations like NASA must plan for this when launching spacecraft. The spacecraft has to be launched and steered in a way in which it will eventually meet up with the Uranus where it will be in its orbit at that point.

It could take over 10 years to reach Uranus

As far as figuring out how long it would take to reach Uranus, there has only been one spacecraft so far that has made it to the planet. The probe Voyager 2 was sent out by NASA to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune on its way out of the solar system and into interstellar space. Voyager 2 was launched in August of 1977, and reached Uranus in January 1986 (via JPL-NASA).

It took Voyager 2 a total of almost nine-and-a-half years to reach Uranus, but a spacecraft with humans on board could take even longer. One complication of a human mission to Uranus would be fuel. Uranus is too far from the sun to use solar panels, so a mission to this planet would require a different fuel source, which would be trickier and take up more space on board. Another hurdle is that the distance between Earth and Uranus would result in communication delays of a couple hours between mission control and the astronauts (via BBC). It could easily take longer than 9.5 years to reach the planet, making a round trip to Uranus a 20 year or more commitment.