Eposode 16: Are we there yet?

Comic Transcripts

Panel 1.
Epo: With your new home determined, we will be on our way.
Captian Ishian: But unlike our ancestors we are not experts at navigation, we need help getting there.

Panel 2.
Alkina: We should see them to safety, Epo.
Epo: Fine. Scanning… I can guide their ship to their new home.

Panel 3.
Narrator: As the times passes Alkina gets to know many of the ship’s passengers…

Panel 4.
Narrator: …while Epo attempos to use the generations ship’s databases to repair itself.
Alkina: My favorite pie, would you like to try?

Panel 5.
Narrator: As their travel draws to a close…
Alkina: We are entering a star system.

Panel 6.
Alkina: Hey, why did we stop?

Hey, where’s my science?

Epo and Alkina travel immense distances over the course of their adventures. Of course, they possess advanced technology that allows them to cover interstellar distances very quickly. Let’s try to calculate how long it takes to travel a given distance at a particular speed, and then you will be given a chance to make a calculation of your own.

During the nineteen-sixties and seventies, astronauts of the Apollo space program traveled from Earth to the moon and back. In order to escape Earth’s gravity, the rockets were designed to travel at about 11 km/sec, that’s over 39,600 kilometers per hour! Let’s imagine we wanted to take a craft like that on a quick trip to the sun, which is about 150 million kilometers away. How long would it take us to get there? To calculate time traveled, we have to divide the distance we want to travel by the speed at which we would be traveling:

150,000,000 kilometers divided by 11 kilometers per second. = 13,636,363 seconds, or about 158 days.

Can you use this same method to determine how long it would take Epo and Alkina to reach their destination at a distance of 3.25 light-years if they were going at speed of the Apollo astronauts?  (Hint: 4.12e+5 = 412,000. Also, there are 86,400 seconds in one day.)

If you think you have the answer, email Epo and Alkina at edeon@sonoma.edu with your answer and we will tell you if you were correct.