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Starship Enterprise vs. Superman: Who's the Fastest Sci-Fi Spacefarer? (Graphic)

If the fictional USS Enterprise raced the ship from "Battlestar Galactica" to the nearest star system, which would get there first?

A new graphic from seeks to answer that question, which sounds like a typical opening argument over beers. The graphic shows fictional travel times across the universe for spaceships from several sci-fi franchises as well as comic-book characters such as Iron Man and Superman.

When leaving Earth on a voyage to Alpha Centauri, it turns out, Galactica would get there in just 29 minutes, traveling at an average speed of 53.4 trillion miles per hour (85.9 trillion kilometers per hour). The USS Enterprise from "Star Trek" would take more than 161 days, at a speed of "just" 6.6 billion mph (10.6 km/h). [The 10 Greatest Sci-Fi Spaceships of All Time]

This fun graphic from pits fictional spaceships and characters against each other in races across the universe. (Image credit: Travelmath)

To calculate the blazing-fast speeds for the various characters and spaceships portrayed, consulted online fan encyclopedias from different franchises. You can actually race the sci-fi spaceships and fliers on to see who wins, with each race accompanied by its own animation.

From the Milky Way to Andromeda, the graphic pits three famous ships from the Star Wars universe: the Death Star, the Millennium Falcon and the X-Wing. It turns out to be not much of a contest, with the Millennium Falcon getting there in 100 days, two times faster than the X-Wing and eight times faster than the Death Star.

Regardless, the superhero Dr. Manhattan from the comic miniseries "Watchmen" could beat all three of them, according to the graphic, because his travel is instantaneous.

The graphic also claims that Superman would beat "Firefly's" Serenity ship in a race from Earth to Neptune (4 hours as opposed to 42 days), and Iron Man could get around the world in 3 hours — 10 times faster than a TIE fighter from "Star Wars."

Travelmath is a service that offers information on travel distance, travel time and travel cost between Earth destinations, including flight and driving times. For real-life fliers, such as F-16 jets and passenger planes, the site uses information from aircraft manufacturers' websites.

Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace, or @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook and Google+. Original article on

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.