Ever wonder what it takes to get to Mars? This NASA animation explains in simple terms some key things to consider.
Mars and Earth orbit around the sun in different, circular paths that never touch. Scientists use a maneuver called a Hohmann transfer orbit to ensure the spacecraft uses as little fuel as possible to get to Mars. The Hohmann orbit is a path that just touches both the original and destination orbits. It involves two firings of the spacecraft's engine: one to break out of the original orbit and another to enter the destination orbit. Once a spacecraft enters Mars' orbit, the pull of gravity can bring it close enough to land.
- 5 Strange Facts About Pluto
- Previous Strange Snapshot: Capturing Video at the Speed of Light
- Previous Strange Snapshot: Polymer Fibers Wrap Around Plastic Ball