All road trips need directions unless, of course, you are setting out on an adventure. An adventure into space sounds lovely, doesn’t it, but let’s face it, who wants to get lost out there, huh? We need a map, don’t we!

Yes, even space needs a map, especially space travel, and Ulysse Carion has created a very useful and interesting specimen for idea.

I mean, who doesn’t want to pack up and set off on some fun-filled space adventure, I know I do. In order to get there, you will need this basic “subway-inspired” space road map.

How does the map work?

Basically, this map shows you just how much energy and velocity you will need in order to make the space tour possible.

This map shows trajectories and intercept areas that give the traveler options of whether to continue toward the original destination or change directions. Small circles on the map indicate locations of planets and also their intercept areas.

Numbers on the map denote the amount of “delta-v” fuel which is needed to get from one location to another. It takes much more fuel to leave planets with a higher gravitational pull, and since larger planets have a much higher pull, then it takes more fuel to leave the atmosphere of these giants.

For example, leaving Jupiter would take 62,200 metres per second of “delta-v” to leave the atmosphere. Demos, the moon of Mars only requires 6 metres per second, on the other hand. What a major difference!

solar system subway map

Arrows on the map show areas that can be used for aerobraking, which simply means using the planet’s atmosphere to slow down. The traveler must, according to the map, use Hohmann Transfer Orbit to jump from one body to the other with a quick boost of speed.

The directions of the map will also provide an indication of how smooth travel is possible without the pull from various planets in the solar system as you pass by. From one end of the universe to the other, you can admire the colors, the beauty and the mysteries of space.

You can even go further to examine the outer reaches, interstellar space and the milky way- well, maybe in the future. As for now, you have the blueprints you need to make the solar system your frequented hang out. All you need now is the scientific resources to bring the map to life!

The mind of the map maker

The map is not perfect by any means. Its numbers do not account for gravity assist, which is a very real principle. Gravity assist is the reason why the Voyager 1 was able to reach distant planets, in our solar system, like Uranus and Neptune.

The idea of a subway system to map out the various numbers attributed to fuel and energy usage and many other dreamy ideas of its creator.

The map’s maker, Carion, admits,

I made the map for a rather mundane reason; I just got a copy of Adobe Illustrator for free from my university and I wanted to try Illustrator out.’ (O’Callaghan, n.d.)

For travelers who are dying to map out the solar system with raw eyes, this map is the missing link. If you have your spacecraft ready, fueled up and loaded down with all your basics, then time is wasting.

The universe can be mapped out, a road map created to take you from point A to B in record time. Let’s join in on the adventure!

Image credit: NASA, Ulysse Carrion

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