Going to the moon? Find out how long it will take

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The moon's orbit is not a circle -- it's an ellipse, so sometimes the moon is closer to the earth than other times

(WYTV) – NASA’s program called Artemis will send astronauts back to the moon by 2024. The ultimate goal is to build a permanent lunar base, then eventually take off for a manned trip to Mars.

How long does to take to get to the moon? It depends.

The moon’s orbit is not a circle. It’s an ellipse, so sometimes the moon is closer to the earth than other times.

Plan your mission when the moon is closer, if you can.

Most lunar missions have taken about three days to reach the moon at an average distance of 240,000 miles. The astronauts travel roughly 3,000 miles an hour to get there.

China’s recent mission to pick up moon rocks took five days — it saved on fuel.

The Soviet Union’s 1959 unmanned Luna 1 took just 34 hours at 6,500 mph to reach the moon. It zoomed past, then went into its own orbit around the sun.

In 2006, the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto raced past the moon just 8 hours and 35 minutes after launch at a speed of 36,000 miles per hour.

A final note — it took the Apollo 11 astronauts three days and three hours to reach the moon, but they returned in two days and 22 hours. During the day that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent getting to the lunar surface and exploring it, the earth and the moon moved slightly closer together.

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