How Long Does Space Travel Last? An Expert's Perspective

Space travel is an exciting and ever-evolving field, with new technologies and missions being developed all the time. But how long does space travel actually last? The answer depends on the mission, but the average duration of an astronaut's mission is six months or 182 days. International Space Station (ISS) missions usually last about six months, with three to six crew members on board. The longest mission of the US space station to date was 215 days, flown by Spanish-American space traveler Mike López-Alegria.

Former cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov spent 14 months aboard the Russian space station Mir. During the existence of the Space Shuttle, space travel used to last only two weeks. A one-way trip to Mars would take about nine months, according to NASA. If you wanted to make a round trip, it would take about 21 months in total, since you'll have to wait about three months on Mars for Earth and Mars to be in a suitable place for the return journey. The SpaceX mission scheduled for May 30 will launch two NASA astronauts into space, and is heralded as the beginning of a new era of space tourism.

The fastest spacecraft is NASA's Parker Solar Probe, which continues to break its own speed records as it approaches the Sun. To complete a trip from Earth to Mars, your spaceship will need to move in orbit around the Sun and then dive back into the atmosphere to re-enter flames and dive off the coast of Florida. Photon propulsion could also be used, relying on a powerful laser to accelerate the spacecraft to speeds close to the speed of light. NASA estimates that Crew Dragon has a 1 in 270 chance of suffering a catastrophic failure, based on a metric used by the space agency.

However, this mission is an important step forward in space exploration and could open up opportunities for ordinary people to experience space travel.

Jeannie Eschenbrenner
Jeannie Eschenbrenner

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