2020-07-03

Mars is 200 million kilometers away from Earth. How long will it take astronauts to Mars?

By ddzyx

After humans complete the moon landing, the next step is to land on Mars. Compared to landing on the moon, landing on Mars requires 225 million kilometers, and visiting Mars up close requires a long journey.

Mars is the second closest planet to Venus (Venus is the closest). Theoretically, Mars is 54.6 million kilometers away from Earth, but this has never happened in history. The closest record of Mars to the earth is 56 million kilometers. It happened in 2003, which is the time when Mars is closest to the earth since 60,000 years.

The average distance between Mars and Earth is about 225 million kilometers.

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How long does it take from Earth to Mars?

Knowing the distance between Earth and Mars, we only need to know the speed to calculate the time.

First look at the fastest speed in the universe-the speed of light. The speed of light is 299792 kilometers per second. When the Earth and Mars are closest, the light takes about 3 minutes to reach Mars. The longest distance takes 22 minutes and the average distance takes 12 minutes.

Let’s take a look at New Horizons, the fastest human spacecraft. The speed is about 58000 kilometers per hour, and it takes 39 days to reach Mars when the Earth and Mars are closest. The longest distance takes 289 days, and the average distance takes 162 days.

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With the upgrade of spacecraft technology, if astronauts really go to Mars, it will only take about 5 months?

This is not the case. The previous calculations were all linear distance calculations between the earth and Mars. However, in fact, the spacecraft must move in orbit around the planet, which greatly extended the distance between the earth and Mars invisibly. .

In addition, Mars and Earth are not homes and schools. They are all fixed buildings. During the months-long journey, the positions of Earth and Mars are changing. Engineers need to calculate the space. The position of Mars when the crew arrived, not the position of Mars at the time of departure.

During the flight, the spacecraft cannot maintain the maximum speed all the time. When approaching the orbit, it needs to slow down into the orbit to avoid flying directly over the target. According to NASA calculations, it takes about 9 months to reach Mars from Earth (this is still ideal).

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What is the Mars launch window period?

It takes 1 year for the earth to revolve around the sun, and 1.9 earth years for Mars to revolve around the sun.

Flying from the earth to Mars, the spacecraft needs to go through an elliptical orbit path to enter Mars orbit, which can make the most of the planet’s gravitational orbit, which can make the entire flight process faster and more fuel-efficient, after all It is impossible for a spacecraft to carry an infinite amount of fuel. During the launch window, the spacecraft can fly by gravity, and it only needs 2 accelerations to reach Mars orbit.

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Although the straight line between the two points is the shortest, human spacecraft technology is not enough to carry enough fuel; even if more fuel can be carried, the design of the spacecraft is not enough to accelerate infinitely.

Using an elliptical orbit, although the journey to Mars is increased, it is also the most economical and practical flight orbit. This timing occurs approximately every 26 months. The summer of 2020 is the window period of Mars launch, which will last until about mid-August, and the next window of Mars launch is the fall of 2022.

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How long did the Mars rover fly?

Although humans have not yet experienced the journey to Mars in person, many probes have already landed on Mars:

  • Sailor 4:the first spacecraft to fly past Mars, about Flying 228 days to Mars.
  • Sailor 9:The first spacecraft to enter Mars’ orbit, and it will fly to Mars in approximately 168 days.
  • Pirate 1:The first spacecraft to land on Mars, it will fly in about 304 days to land on Mars.
  • Mars Pathfinder:The first rover to land on Mars, flying approximately 212 days to land on Mars.
  • Mars Curiosity:approximately flying 250 days Land on Mars.

Astronauts want to land on Mars, they need to live in space for about 270 days (one way), and travel between Mars and Earth, at least one year in space.

Humans only go to visit Martian neighbors, and they need to waste a year on the road to and from. In this one year, astronauts may encounter various conditions in space, and space radiation will also be long. Affect the astronaut’s body. Looking for new propulsion energy is the only way for future space exploration.

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Nuclear energy, solar sail will become the new space exploration Energy:

Because of its sensitivity, nuclear energy has not been one of the powers of spacecraft, but with the development and demand of aerospace technology, some countries have begun to invest funds to study nuclear energy rockets.

Compared to nuclear energy, solar sails are more economical and efficient resources. Currently, solar sails are already on the International Space Station Tested to confirm that the solar sail can indeed work normally. Although the solar sail needs to be used in a place with stars, the light is almost infinite energy and can always provide acceleration. The spacecraft carrying a large solar sail can reach a speed of 240,000 kilometers per hour , 6 times that of the current spacecraft.

If you use a shaped solar sail, a 100-kilogram device can reach Mars in only 3 days.

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New energy looks good, but it has great technical limitations.

Although nuclear energy has been used in power generation and submarines, it is still difficult to place it on spacecraft, and astronauts will also come into close contact with the reactor. When they are exposed to space radiation, they will also receive additional nuclear power. The effects of radiation.

Although the solar sail can always generate acceleration through light pressure, this acceleration is very small, and it takes several months of acceleration to formally start a space journey. In order to better accept the light pressure, the solar sail The area is usually large, and launching huge solar sails into space before unfolding is a big challenge.

Compared to nuclear energy, solar sails are more likely to become the hope of interstellar travel. After all, as long as there is light, solar sails can get power flight. If all future spacecraft use solar sails as power, then It will save a lot of fuel, the spacecraft can also carry more other equipment, and the solar sail may bring a huge revolutionary progress for space travel.

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