How long is the flight to Mars?
Fourth from the Sun, the God of war, the Red planet – not only as Mars. The ancient Romans sang of it in their folklore and tied her bright, red glow in the night sky with the disaster and ruin. Mars is relatively small. In the Solar system it occupies the seventh position in size. This is roughly half of our planet. The mass corresponds to one tenth of the earth.
With the development of Astronautics Mars never ceases to interest scientists. He is in the earth group planets and is considered prospective for expansion. Among space powers is long race with the study of this planet. Particularly distinguished in this field the Soviet Union, the United States and the European space Agency.
Near to our planet Mars is suitable for a distance of 54.6 million km. This event occurs about every two years. However, depending on the position of the planets in orbit the distance between them can reach more than 0.4 billion km.
«Small» distance to Mars is contributing to the sending thereto of automatic stations. However, the calculation of the satellite orbit associated with a variety of difficulties and time of approach to the red planet varies between 210 and 300 days.
First and subsequent flights to Mars
More accurate data about the time for the achievement of Mars revealed with the launch of the Mariner 4 spacecraft, developed by NASA. Starting in the late fall of sixty-fourth year of the last century, the station has reached the red planet in mid-summer 1965. The journey took 228 days. Was first obtained unique pictures of this planet.
Mariner 6 broke the record. Thanks to its location and a more accurate calculation, the unit touched Mars at 156 days after launch from Earth. The following Mariner spent even less time – 131 days. In may of 1971 on the surface of the red planet fell station Mariner 9. The flight lasted 167 days.
After half a century, Mars was visited by many landers. It should be noted flights of the two American «Vikings» in 1976, which took 335 and 360 days. 2006, 2008 and 2012 also marked the successful launches of spacecraft to the Red planet.
What’s the problem a long journey?
If you go the easy route, that is to take a straight between the Earth and Mars during opposition, it is easy to see that the flight of the spacecraft, whose speed is about 20 thousand km per hour, to last not more than 115 days. However, practice does not always coincide with the theory. The satellite will have to do a much bigger way.
In space is constantly moving. The planets move in different orbits, with different velocities, which also vary depending on proximity to the Central star. From the time of vehicle start from the Ground and before reaching the proposed point for the end of the line, far Mars moves in its orbit. Accordingly, the ship will have to catch up with him. Shorten the path by a pre-emptive start. But here there are nuances.
One of the problems of space travel remains fuel. Modern technologies do not allow to constantly use the vehicle in the open space. Just the ships no space to accommodate this amount of fuel.