How Long Does It Take to Get to Mars???

If you desired to pay a visit to the red planet, how long would it take? The answer rests on on a number of stuffs, ranging from the position of the planets to the technology that would drive you there. Let's inspect a few of the most important points.
In 2003, Mars made its nearest approach to Earth in about 60,000 years. The Hubble Space Telescope took the chance to study the red planet while it was only 34,647,420 miles (55,757,930 km) from Earth.Credit: NASA, J. Bell (Cornell U.) and M. Wolff (SSI)

How far away is Mars?

To conclude how long it will take to reach Mars, we must first know the distance among the two planets.

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, and the second neighbouring to Earth (Venus is the closest). But the distance among the two planets is continuously changing as they orbit about the sun.

In theory, the closest that Earth and Mars would approach each other would be when Mars is at its nearby point to the sun (perihelion) and Earth is at its extreme (aphelion). This would put the planets only 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometres) distant. However, this has never occurred in recorded history. The closest approach of the two planets happened in 2003, when they were only 34.8 million miles (56 million km) away from each other.

The two planets are extreme apart when they are both at their farthest from the sun, on opposite sides of the star. At this point, they can be 250 million miles (401 million km) apart.
The average distance among the two planets is 140 million miles (225 million km).

The speed of light

Light travels at around 186,282 miles per second (299,792 km per second). Therefore, a light shining from the surface of Mars would take the following amount of time to grasp Earth (or vice versa):

Nearby approach: 182 seconds, or just over 3 minutes
Extreme approach: 1,342 seconds, or just over 22 minutes
On mean: 751 seconds, or just over 12.5 minutes

Fastest spaceship so far

The fastest spaceship propelled from Earth was NASA's New Horizons mission, which is en route to Pluto. In January 2006, the probe left Earth at 36,000 mph (58,000 kph). The time it would take such a probe to reach to Mars would be:

Nearby approach: 942 hours (39 days)
Extreme approach: 6,944 hours (289 days)
On mean: 3,888 hours (162 days)

But then things get complex …

Obviously, the problem with the preceding calculations is that they calculate distance among the two planets as a straight line. Traveling over the farthest passing of Earth and Mars would include a trip straight through the sun, while spaceship must of requirement move in orbit about the solar system's star.

Though this isn't a problem for the nearby approach, when the planets are on the same side of the sun, another difficulty exists. The numbers also assume that the two planets continue at a constant distance; that is, when a probe is propelled from Earth while the two planets are at the nearby approach, Mars would stay the same distance away over the path of the 39 days it took the probe to travel. 

In realism, however, the planets are endlessly moving in their orbits around the sun. Engineers must compute the ideal orbits for sending a spaceship from Earth to Mars. Their numbers factor in not only distance but fuel proficiency. Like tossing a dart at a moving target, they must compute where the planet will be when the spaceship lands, not where it is when it is launched from Earth. Spacecraft must also slow down to enter orbit around a new planet to avoid overrunning it.

How long it takes to reach Mars rest on on where in their orbits the two planets lie when a mission is launched. It also rest on on the technological expansions of driving force systems.

Here is a list of how long it took numerous historic missions to reach the red planet. Their launch dates are included for viewpoint.

Mariner 4, the first space capsule to go to Mars (1964 flyby): 228 days
Mariner 6 (1969 flyby): 155 days
Mariner 7 (1969 flyby): 128 days
Mariner 9, the first space capsule to orbit Mars (1971): 168 days
Viking 1, the first U.S. spacecraft to land on Mars (1975): 304 days
Viking 2 Orbiter/Lander (1975): 333 days
Mars Global Surveyor (1996): 308 days
Mars Pathfinder (1996): 212 days
Mars Odyssey (2001):  200 days
Mars Express Orbiter (2003): 201 days
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005): 210 days
Mars Science Laboratory (2011): 254 days


This post was written by Usman Abrar. To contact the writer write to Follow on Facebook




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