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.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: