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Astro Quiz 46: Trip to Mars?

Question #46 – How long does it take to get to Mars?

Answer:

The time it takes to reach Mars from Earth depends on the location of each planet in its orbit around the Sun. The distance between Earth and Mars keeps changing. The average distance is 140 million miles, but Mars can be as close as 34.8 million miles or as far as 250 million miles.

The amount of time also depends on the speed you are traveling. At the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second, it takes only 3.11 minutes if Mars is at its closest distance.

While today's rockets and spacecraft fly very fast, they don't travel anywhere near the speed of light. So, depending on the speed of the launch, the alignment of Earth and Mars, and the path the rocket takes, it will take between 150 and 300 days to reach Mars.

Read How Long Does It Take to Get to Mars? at Space.com for more information.

This question was submitted by Ethan Levy, age 12. Ethan lives in Israel.


True-colour image of Mars seen by OSIRIS, 2007
Image credit: European Space Agency

 

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