Ever wondered how long it would take to get to Mars?
With Elon Musk’s successful launch of the world’s most powerful rocket — SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy — on Feb. 6, humans journeying to Mars looks increasingly likely.
The problem is that there’s an immense distance between Earth and Mars, which means any trip to the red planet will take a very long time.
It’s also made more complicated by the fact that the distance is constantly changing as the two planets rotate around the sun.
The closest that the Earth and Mars would ever be is a distance of 33.9 million miles — that’s 9,800 times the distance between London and New York.
That’s really rare though: the more useful distance is the average, which is 140 million miles.
We’ve already launched a whole bunch of spacecraft to (or near) Mars, so we have a rough idea of how long it takes with current technology.
Historically, the trip has taken anywhere from 128 days to 333 days, which is a huge length of time for humans to be on board a cramped spacecraft.
SpaceX’s recently launched Falcon Heavy payload — which includes a Tesla car — is expected to pass Mars by around October, although there’s no official public estimate.