Ever since 1969 when first people landed on the surface of the moon, scientists have been dreaming about a journey to the red planet. But will we ever really get to Mars? Why should we even bother going there? When will we get to Mars? What are the main obstacles of flying to Mars? This article will answer all these questions and more.
Why Should We Fly to Mars?
Firstly, many people are wondering why we should even bother flying to Mars. The answer is very simple – for the same reasons as for flying to the Moon. First of all, it’s the best way to test the technical capabilities of our space technology. Another great reason is scientific research. Only by flying to Mars we can fully test the surface of the red planet, examine the environment and search for microbes, traces of water or ice.
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The main obstacle of flying to Mars is, of course, the distance. The closest distance from Earth to Mars is 54.6 million km (the distance is always changing, due to the fact that both Earth and Mars are always traveling around the Sun). If we were to compare this distance with the distance between Earth and Moon (about 384 403 km.), we would find out that Mars is about 142 times further from Earth. This means that, for instance, Apollo 11 would reach Mars in about 426 days at best (it took about 3 days for Apollo to reach the moon, and since Mars is about 142 further, time of journey to Mars = 3 days X 142times= 426 days). Of course, our technology has advanced since 1969, and we could reach Mars faster. According to NASA scientists, our current rockets could reach Mars in about 6 months (if Earth and Mars were aligned in a right trajectory).
Journey itself is another obstacle. Remember that astronauts need food, oxygen, place to sleep and other basic needs. Furthermore, a spaceship needs a lot of fuel. Even if a spaceship could reach Mars in about 6 months it would be a hell of a journey for astronauts. Imagine sitting in one room for about 1 year, with nothing to do, but fly around with no gravitation.
As for today, it is clear that our technical capabilities are not ready to face the obstacles of such a space journey. But don’t worry we’ll talk about the near future possibilities in this article later.