How long to fly to Mars?

Flight to Mars, flight to Mars how far is Mars how to fly to Mars, mission duration to Mars

The planet Mars is one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Like a bright red star, it is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. Approximately every two years, Mars and Earth reach their closest point, called “opposition”. At this point, the distance between Mars and Earth is about 55 million kilometers. Almost every two years, the scientists take this opportunity to send to the red planet spacecraft. So how long does it take the spacecraft to reach Mars?

The total time of flight from Earth to Mars varies from 150 to 300 days, depending on the speed of launch, the position of the planets, the route and the amount of fuel on Board.

The first spacecraft to reach Mars was Mariner 4. The device was launched on 28 November 1964. On Mars he arrived on 14 July 1965, where he successfully made a series of 21 Photos. The total time of flight of the machine was 228 days. The next successful mission to Mars was Mariner 6, launched February 25, 1969 and reached the planet on July 31, 1969. The flight time was 156 days. The device Mariner-7 on the flight took only 131 day. Mariner 9, first spacecraft,released into the Martian orbit, was launched on 30 may 1971 and arrived to its destination on 13 November 1971. The flight time amounted to 167 days.

Here are some examples: Viking 1 (1976) – 335 days Viking 2 (1976) – 360 days Mars reconnaissance Orbiter (2006) – 210 days Phoenix Lander (2008) – 295 days Curiosity Lander (2012) – 253 days. Goes, the average time of flight is from 150 to 300 days. Why so long?

If you take into account the fact that the distance between the planets is about 55 million kilometers, and the spacecraft is traveling at a speed of over 20,000 km/h, you can expect a flight time of approximately 115 days, but in reality spent much more time. The fact that Mars and Earth move in its orbit around the Sun. You can’t just take aim at Mars and begin to launch missiles, because missiles will fly, Mars will not be already there. Instead, running with the Land vehicles fly to where Mars will be in the time of arrival.

Another factor is the limitation on the amount of fuel. If the fuel on Board was infinite, then time travel could be greatly reduced. In an effort to minimize launch costs, the engineers are looking for optimal ways of delivery of the device to Mars, while spending the least amount of fuel. NASA engineers use the so-called “Romanovsky trajectory”. This trajectory increases the space, but reduces fuel consumption to a minimum.

To send people to Mars, mission duration 250 days becomes dangerous. Dangerous radiation in interplanetary space can greatly affect the health of astronauts. In addition to background radiation, Sun storms happen periodically. Massive solar storm could kill astronauts in a matter of hours. In this case, the reduction of flight time is just necessary because it will significantly reduce the risk to astronauts.

One solution for reducing time of flight – the use of nuclear missiles. Nuclear fuel more efficiently chemical. It allows you to get more traction from less fuel. Nuclear rocket could decrease the travel time to 7 months.

Another solution could be the VASIMR technology. This electromagnetic engine which uses radio waves for heating and ionisation of fuel. This creates plasma, which is ejected from the back of the ship with great speed. It is expected that a prototype of this technology will be installed on the ISS to maintain orbit. When flying to Mars, the rocket, working on VASIMR technology, can reduce the time to 5 months.

One of the most extreme proposals is the antimatter rocket. Created in the accelerator of particles of antimatter are the most efficient fuel that could be used. When atoms of matter meet atoms of antimatter, they transform into pure energy, as predicted by the famous equation of Einstein: E = m*c^2. Just 10 milligrams of antimatter is needed to deliver people to Mars in 45 days. However, today, the production of even such tiny amounts of antimatter, would be worth about 250 million dollars.

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