Getting off Earth is not an easy task and getting all the way to Mars is more difficult. Many people have wondered how long it would take to reach the red planet? The answer lies with various factors as it depends on the position of the planet and how far it is away from Earth. While these are just a few things that need to be considered, scientists have proved that it is not impossible to land on the fourth planet in our Milky Way Galaxy.

The most important point to be noted is that Mars and Earth keep moving away from each other. The last time the red planet made its closest approach to Earth was in 2003.

Although Mars is the second closest planet to Earth, the distance keeps changing because both are constantly rotating around the sun.

The closest point

Based on the space theory, the minimal distance between two planets is when Mars is at the closest point to the sun and Earth is at the farthest point from the sun. Only at this situation and time will Mars and Earth have the minimal distance of 33.9 million miles. According to Space, this has never occurred in history. The closest approach of Mars and Earth was 34.8 million miles in 2003.

They can go up to 250 million miles further from each other when they are at different ends. However, the average distance is about 140 miles. On the other hand, there are also other complications.

It is impossible to send a spacecraft to Mars straight through the sun. The easiest way would be when both planets are on the same side of the sun.

Time, speed and accuracy

According to NASA as mentioned by Space News, it would roughly take around nine months to reach the red planet. Another important calculation is knowing the position of Mars when the spacecraft is scheduled to land.

Since the planet is not going to stay in one place, scientists need to calculate all these aspects.

Earth takes one year to go around the sun and return to its same position. Mars takes around 1.9 years to orbit the sun. Scientists need accurate calculations to figure out the time and the distance of Mars' orbit ahead of launching the mission.

Only then will Mars be exactly where it needs to be when a probe lands.

It is a tedious task but not impossible to achieve and scientists have been able to make these things possible. NASA launched the fastest spacecraft from Earth to Pluto in 2015. It was called the "New Horizons Mission" and the probe traveled around 36,000 mph. The first spacecraft to reach Mars took 228 days, Other probes like the "Mariner 7" reached it in 128 days.