If Elon Musk’s predictions go ahead, people are likely to be zipping back and forth between Earth and Mars before anyone’s actually worked out how safe that is.
The billionaire’s plan is to allow people to move to this planet, which – along with Venus – is the closest planet to Earth, but still several million miles away.
Even if Musk’s SpaceX project is viable, it really does beg the question: how long will it take to actually get to Mars?
Are you going to need an inflatable comfort pillow and maybe some travel mints?
The smallest recorded distance between Earth and Mars is 34.8 million miles (56 million kilometres). The distance varies because of our orbits.
Even light, which travels incredibly fast, can take up to 12 minutes to reach us from the surface of Mars.
The fastest rocket launch from Earth was in 2015 and went up at a speed of 36,000 mph (58,000 kph).
Judging by this figure, and considering that Mars could be further away depending on when you visited, scientists say the journey to Mars takes something like 300 days. That’s just under ten months.
However, some say that if all the right elements aligned, and you used a lot of fuel, it could take as little as 150 days, which is five months.
NASA has the final word, though. They claim that with all the perfect conditions in place, and with the planets literally aligning to aid your journey, they could get you there in nine months.
If you don’t want to take NASA’s word for it, you could calculate you’re own journey time, but that’s not going to be easy.
Remember, planets continue their orbits in different directions while you’re travelling.
To get an accurate figure for the journey time, you have to calculate an accurate distance, but it’s ever-changing. Where will Mars be when you arrive?
Because the planets are always on the move, calculating exact journey time is not a mathematic puzzle any old idiot can do.
And a pilot will have to decelerate when entering Mars’ orbit to make sure it can land properly on it.
Obviously, travelling to Mars when it’s on the other side of the sun is also going to take much, much longer. You can’t travel through the sun.
You’d want to be travelling at a time when Mars and Earth pass each other. And this happens once every 26 months.
Makes booking your holiday to Spain look like a piece of cake, doesn’t it?
If you’re still interested, here’s how you can move to Mars. Send us a postcard, yeah?