Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mission to Mars

Since the earliest days of science fiction, travel to Mars has captured the imagination. However, to get to Mars and return is not an easy task. Hard as it was for man to go to the Moon, travel to Mars is many orders of magnitude more difficult. Even in 2003, when Mars will be at the closest distance of approach to the Earth, it will still remain over 50 million km away from Earth.

That distance is almost 150 times as far away as the Moon. To go to Mars in a reasonable amount of time will require much higher speeds than to go to the Moon, and that means much more fuel. Then, to return from Mars will also require great amounts of fuel. Although Mars is much smaller than Earth, and has a much smaller gravity, it will still require a very large amount of energy to escape from the Martian surface and return.

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