How long to fly to Mars

The planet Mars is one of the brightest objects in our night sky, even visible to the naked eye and resembles a bright red star. About every two years, our planet and Mars is a maximum converging. Such an event in astronomy is called “confrontation”. At this point, Mars will be only fifty-five millions of miles from Earth. People capitalize on that by sending to the Red Planet during the confrontation spaceships. So how much to fly to Mars ?

The orbit of Mars and Earth

The complete journey from Earth to Mars takes between 150 to 300 days to allow for the speed run, the location of the planets and the length of the path, which must pass the spacecraft. In this case the dominant factor is only the amount of fuel. The more fuel, the faster it will take flight.

History of flights to Mars

The first ever space ship, committed trip Earth-Mars, was created by NASA’s Mariner 4. It was launched in late November 1964 and appeared on Mars July 14, 1965. Mariner 4 reached Mars in 228 days.

Following successful flight of Mariner 6 made, which broke away from the earth on 25 February 1969 and 31 July the same year reached Mars. The flight is just 156 days. Mariner 7 reached Mars in just a day 131.

Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft that successfully entered the Martian orbit, launched on may 30 1971 and reaching its goal on November 13, 167 days.

The spacecraft, Mariner 9, to Mars deleteui for 167 days

More examples:

Viking 1 (flight 1976) – 335 days

Why is it so long?

Knowing that Mars is only 55 million kilometers away, and the spaceships are moving faster than 20 thousand kilometers per hour it is easy to calculate that the trip from Earth to Mars will take 115 days. In practice, the flight occurs about two times longer. Why is it so? The reason is that the earth and Mars revolve around the Sun. You can’t just build a rocket and launch it straight to Mars. By the time the rocket will reach there, Mars will go forward in its orbit. To start successful you must aim ahead of the curve, where the planet yet.

The approximate scheme of sending astronauts to Mars

The next hurdle is the fuel. If we assume that onboard there is an unlimited amount of fuel, you can directly launch a rocket to Mars, accelerating to the middle of the traversed path, and after passing this mid-to expand the nozzle and slow down the ship. Unfortunately, this run will require an incredible amount of fuel and an even more incredible ship that this fuel would be able to carry.

How to reach Mars with minimal loss of rocket fuel?

The main task of engineers is not time-saving as it might seem, and fuel economy. And it’s not in caring about the environment, and in a banal saving.

NASA engineers use a method called Romanovskoj trajectory, or the trajectory with minimal cost. This way you can launch a spacecraft to Mars using minimum fuel. The method was proposed by Walter the government in 1925. Instead of directing your rocket straight to Mars, it is much reasonable will get the rocket in Solar orbit. Some time later, this orbit will intersect the orbit of Mars, and Mars like magic and will be at this point of its orbit. Of course, all the magic is hidden serious scientific calculations.

Other ideas for accelerating space flight

Although, the 250-day journey the spacecraft requires considerable patience and perseverance, it is perfectly acceptable. But in order to send the first humans on Mars will require a radically different type of fuel. The space is quite inhospitable place for people. The human body is very susceptible to space radiation. It is deposited in all parts of the body and remain with you for life. Unprotected from the radiation an astronaut will not last more than a couple hours in the depths of space. Reducing the time of flight can be reduced for astronauts the risk of being irradiated and to reduce the number of supplies needed for humans to survive.

The use of nuclear missiles

One of the promising ideas are nuclear missiles, the essence of which consists in heating the liquefied fuel, such as hydrogen, with subsequent ejection from nozzle at very high speed, it will create traction. Much more efficient nuclear missiles in comparison with ordinary consume less fuel and generate more thrust. Theoretically, the use of nuclear missiles reduces flight time to seven months.

The use of magnetism

This idea is based on magneto-plasma rocket with a variable pulse. The technology is based on electromagnetic device that using radio waves ionize and heat propellant. This creates an ionized gas, i.e. plasma. Plasma and accelerate a spaceship. Former astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz controls the development of this technology. The prototype is going to be installed on the ISS to help her to maintain the required orbit above the earth. Using this technology a hypothetical journey to Mars will take five months.

The use of antimatter

Perhaps the most extreme idea of all is the creation of antimatter missiles. Antimatter can only be obtained in a particle accelerator. When antimatter particles collide with the particles of matter, is the release of incredible amounts of energy in accordance with the famous equation of Einstein. To reach Mars you will need only 10 milligrams of antimatter. And although the flight will take just 45 days, the production of even a negligible amount of antimatter would cost $ 250 million.

Future flights to Mars

Despite the fact that already in the development of new technologies that will significantly reduce flight times to Mars, NASA engineers still use the old and tested methods of launching rockets. It may take more than one decade, before new methods will start to be used in space exploration.

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