I stumbled across this little animated gif (on right), posted by my friend The Old Wolf on Facebook.
I thought it looked neat, but I seriously wanted a better look at it, and so I set out to find the original on YouTube, and here it is, in somewhat better quality:
Photographer Ron Miller had something of the same idea, using still photos, but beautifully done. Click the photo below to watch the whole series at dailymail.co.uk.
It brought me in mind of Larry Niven’s novel “World Out Of Time“, in which the Earth, in a very distant future, has been relocated to an orbit around Jupiter.
But it made me wonder where the Earth would actually be located in relation to the planets in question. I mean, Jupiter is pretty big. Would we be skimming its upper atmosphere? And would we be ice-surfing the rings of Saturn? How about colliding with the bigger moons of those giants?
So I looked up orbits and planet measurements on Wikipedia, and put together this little schematic. Click for full size view.
I haven’t bothered with the smaller moons yet, but we’re well clear of the bigger ones. The closest we get is a fly-by with Io. But I would be worried about the increased gravitation and the most likely catastrophic consequences that would have for ocean tides. Living along the coastlines could become more of a hairy business than it is now.
Except with Pluto, of course, because that one is even smaller than our own Moon 😉
Update: So, whether or not you actually signed up for the one-way mission to Mars, you might still want a look at how far it actually is. In that case distancetomars.com might do the trick for you.