How Long To Fly To Mars (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 7 to 9 months

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, and Venus is the planet closest to the earth. However, as they orbit the sun, the distance between the two planets changes.

In principle, the time when the Earth and Mars are closest to each other is the time when Mars is closest to the sun and the Earth is farther away. At this distance, the distance between planets is only 33.9 million miles.

When the two planets are at the greatest distance from the sun, they are the farthest apart on either side of the star. At this stage, they may be 250 million miles (401 million kilometers) apart. The average distance between the two planets is 140 million kilometers (225 million kilometers).

How Long To Fly To Mars

How Long To Fly To Mars?

Missions to reach MarsDays took to reach
Mariner 4228 days
Mars Odyssey200 days
Mars Science Laboratory254 days

After the spacecraft separates from the rocket shortly after launch, the cruise phase begins. The spacecraft leaves the Earth at a speed of approximately 24,600 miles per hour. It will take 7 to 9 months to go 300 million miles to Mars. Around 15 days after launch, the spacecraft’s flight course is first adjusted.

 The time to fly to Mars depends on the position of the two planets in their orbits at the beginning of the mission. It also depends on the advancement of propulsion system technology. The mission will be launched when the Earth and Mars are in the ideal relative position for landing on Mars. As a result, traveling to Mars at this time consumes less energy than at other times when Earth and Mars are at different points in their orbits.

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Engineers must determine the best orbits for a spaceship to go from Earth to Mars. Their calculation takes into account distance and fuel economy at the same time. To prevent overshooting a new planet, spaceships must decelerate upon entering orbit.

Engineers have multiple opportunities to modify the flight path during the cruise phase (plus a backup maneuver and an emergency maneuver). Engineers will calculate the spacecraft’s location during these trajectory correction operations and direct eight thrusters on the cruise stage to fire for a certain length of time to alter the course.

The movements are crucial because Jezero Crater was chosen as the landing location on Mars after years of rigorous preparation, and fine-tuning the flight path assures that the spacecraft will enter the Mars atmosphere at precisely the proper position to land within Jezero crater.

The approach phase is the final 45 days leading up to the landing. Navigation activities and getting the spacecraft ready to enter, descend and land are the main focus of this phase. At this time, the last three trajectory correction techniques can be carried out.

Why Does It Take That Long To Fly To Mars?

The Earth takes one year to orbit the sun, while Mars takes 1.9 years. The elliptical orbit that takes you from Earth to Mars is longer than Earth’s but shorter than Mars. Consequently, the time it would take to complete this orbit was estimated by averaging the lengths of Earth’s and Mars’s orbits. As a result, the elliptical orbit would take around one and a half years to complete.

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Mars moves a significant distance around in its orbit in the nine months it takes to arrive at Mars, roughly three-eighths of the way around the sun. It should be planned such that when you reach the distance of Mars orbit, Mars is exactly where you need it to be. This happens just once every 26 months. That is, every 26 months, there is just one launch window.

Conclusion

We don’t have specific estimates on how fast it’s conceivable to get to Mars because no person has done it yet — remember, you have to slow down as you approach closer to Mars. Human expeditions to Mars are expected to be scheduled to take advantage of a favorable planetary alignment, according to the best calculations.

The Viking 6 and Viking 7 spacecraft had the quickest trip times from Earth to Mars, taking 155 and 128 days, respectively. Both spacecraft performed flyby missions to take pictures of Mars.

References

  1. https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/abs/2016/09/aa28869-16/aa28869-16.html
  2. https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1992mars.book..835Z/abstract