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How Long does It Take to get to Mars?

The Mars Odyssey that was launched in 2001 by NASA reached Mars in around six months. New technology, however, may make it possible to reach Mars in just 39 days. NASA is working on a Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) that turns fuel into plasma gas. Depending on where in the orbit cycle the two planets are, Mars is anywhere from about 34 million miles (54.6 million kilometers) to 250 million miles (401 million kilometers) from Earth.

More Mars Facts:

  • The length of a day on Mars is slightly longer than on Earth at 24 hours and 37 minutes, but it's a bit chillier — the average temperature on Mars is -81 degrees Fahrenheit (-62.8 degrees Celsius).

  • The plasma gas in VASIMR would be heated to 51.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (11 million degrees Celsius), allowing the rocket to travel at speeds up to 35 miles (55 kilometers) per second.

  • Mars is home to the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, which is about three times as tall as Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth. It is about 68,897 feet (20,999 meters) tall.

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Discussion Comments
By RoyalSpyder — On Sep 08, 2014

With all this talk about Mars, it does lead me to wonder how pictures of other planets have been taken. Not only are they way too far for us humans to reach, but some of them are completely inhabitable, especially considering how they're close to the sun. While I've heard that they send probes out there, I can imagine that would take a long time as well. After all, considering how some of the travels might be a seven month trip (for the probes), it could take over a year to capture surface footage, also noting that they'd have to make their way back.

By Krunchyman — On Sep 07, 2014

Mars takes a quite a while to get to, especially when compared to how it's portrayed in the media, in which planets can be reached in a matter of seconds, if not minutes. This really does a good job at separating fiction from reality, so that people can tell the difference, kids in particular. Whether you're young or old, the journey to space can be very dangerous.

It's certainly not a place that's suited for human conditions, and man has done everything in its power to ensure that they can travel out there, with mostly fantastic results. On a final note though, considering how it takes thirty nine days to reach Mars, one can only imagine how long it would take to reach other planets.

By Hazali — On Sep 06, 2014

The first bullet point leads me to the following question. Considering how days on other planets are longer (and shorter) than Earth days, does that mean if we lived on the planet, it would affect our age as well? I definitely think that's something interesting to think about. In fact, let's look at it this way. No matter how much time passes, we all age the same, right? Especially in terms of time. While I don't believe that living on other planets would speed up or slow down our age, it really does show that all planets have a different rotation, each unique from one another. I'm sure it's something that scientists have been looking into.

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