Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX recently announced that to take two paying customers around the Moon in late 2018. How difficult will this be to accomplish?

Gravity is a powerful force making life possible on Earth. But it also makes it pretty hard for us to leave.

Satellites fight against gravity by going fast enough to free-fall around the planet, with many satellites travelling at speeds of more than 28,200 km/h.

If you want to leave Earth, though, you need to go much faster. It takes a lot of fuel to reach this speed, which is why early rockets like Apollo’s Saturn V were so big. They needed to carry enough fuel to get to the Moon.

SpaceX’s rockets are smaller than the Saturn V, but will need to go even further to go all the way around the Moon.

Musk is an ambitious guy and may already be thinking about launching from other planets in the Solar System. If so – he’ll need to consider the amount of gravity on each planet. Jupiter has the most gravity and requires a rocket speed of over 215,000 km/h to launch.

Here’s how fast you’d have to go to leave every planet in the solar system in one tidy, animated GIF. We apologize to those of you not used to the Imperial system of measurement, but the GIF is from Business Insider and they’re still using this outdated system (as is most of the United States).

Further resources

If you’re interested in learning more about the universe we live in, we recommend checking out the course by Neil degrasse Tyson on Udemy.

You may also want to join Ideapod, our social network for idea sharing. There are a lot of discussions happening now about science.

Finally, check out these blog posts for further reading: