Mars is one of the most well-known planets in our solar system other than Earth. It is the planet behind Earth in The Milky Way and is the fourth planet from the Sun. While it has been likened to Earth, due to some similarities, it is also quite different.
You may be wondering how far away Mars is from Earth. While there are certain times every few years where you can see Mars in the sky, how far away is it really?
In this article, we will be taking a closer look at how far away Mars is. We will be talking about the planet as a whole, and how far it is away from the sun and Earth. In addition to this, we will be discussing how long it would take to get to Mars and what its climate is like.
Details About Mars
Before we delve into how far away Mars is. Let us take a closer look at this planet. In comparison to Earth, Mars is actually around half the size. It has a radius of roughly 3,390 kilometers.
Due to its red soil, Mars is commonly known as the red planet. Like Earth, Mars has a moon system, but it has two moons that orbit it, rather than just one.
While no human has yet stepped foot on Mars, Nasa is researching and studying this planet to find out more information. Some spacecraft orbit this planet to look at it in closer detail. In addition to this, there are Rover robots that are currently on the planet to take photos for Nasa to study in more detail.
It is known that there was water that once flowed on Mars, however, there has been no proof of any life on Mars.
How Far Away Is Mars From The Earth?
As Mars and the Earth both orbit the sun at different speeds, the distance is between the two is constantly changing.
Earth orbits the sun quicker than Mars, and as they both orbit the sun in an elliptical orbit, the distance can be shorter or longer, depending on where the planets are currently in orbit.
However, while the distance is changing, when Mars is at its closest distance from Earth, this is known as the Mars Close Approach. This does not happen very often, rather around every 26 months. The last close approach was in 2020, and the next will be in 2022.
When Mars is at its closest with Earth, it is still by no means near us. It is around 54.6 million kilometers away. However, when it is close, it is possible to see Mars with a telescope.
How Far Away Is Mars From The Sun?
As Mars does not have a perfectly circular orbit around the sun, as with the earth, the distance does vary depending on where Mars is located in its orbit.
However, it is roughly around 228 million kilometers away from the Sun. This is the equivalent of 1.5 astronomical units.
How Long Would It Take To Travel To Mars?
Because the planets are constantly moving in Orbit, there is no exact time that it would take to travel to Mars and it will vary. However, on average it would take anywhere around 6 to 8 months to reach Mars from Earth.
When Mars is at its closest, it will take the shortest amount of time. While this does not seem like a particularly long time, for astronauts, they would have to factor in the journey there and back.
Given that astronauts only spend six months on the Space Station at one time, this is a significant amount of time.
What Is The Atmosphere and Climate Like On Mars?
When looking at the atmosphere of Mars it is not completely dissimilar to what we experience on earth. The atmosphere is made up of mainly carbon dioxide.
While the atmosphere is a lot thinner than Earth’s, it is still present. This makes Mars the most similar planet to earth in our solar system.
As it has a thin atmosphere, it does not overly experience the greenhouse effect in the same way as Earth. However, it is more exposed to cosmic rays overall.
Although the workings of Mars’s atmosphere are similar to Earth's, the temperature and climate are rather different. The average temperature of Mars sits at around -81 degrees Fahrenheit, which is far colder than Earth. The temperature can range from -285 degrees Fahrenheit to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
While it is far colder than Earth on average, it can reach a temperature and climate that resembles our planet. In terms of the weather on Mars, it is often subject to sand storms.
What Is Gravity Like On Mars?
While Earth and Mars do have their similarities, the gravity on each planet is rather different.
The gravity on Mars is 0.376 of Earth’s, which is far lighter.
How Long Is A Day and Year On Mars?
The length of a day on Mars is surprisingly similar to Earth’s. While a full day on Earth is 24 hours, it is 24 hours and 37 minutes on Mars.
While Mars has a similar length of a day to Earth, its years are much longer. This is because it is further away from the sun. Given this, it takes longer for it to complete one orbit cycle.
A year on Mars is the equivalent of 687 Earth days.
We hope that you found this article interesting and insightful.
As you can see, the distance of Mars from the Earth and the Sun is constantly changing due to its orbit. It is closest to Earth every two years, but even then it is still very far away.
While Mars is similar to Earth in terms of its atmosphere, and day length, it is still quite different when it comes to its temperature and overall climate.
In addition to this, the gravity on Mars is far less strong in comparison to Earth’s.
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