The 12 spacecraft sent to or sent past Mars have taken between 128 to 333 days from Earth, as of January 2015. Travel between Earth and Mars varies significantly and depends largely on the positions of the planets in relation to each other as well as the spacecraft propulsion system.Continue Reading
NASA's New Horizons probe is the fastest spacecraft launched from Earth as of January 2015. It traveled at 36,000 miles per hour when it was launched in 2006. If it had traveled to Mars during the closest approach to Earth, it could have arrived in as little as 39 days.
Generally, after a Mars-bound craft is launched, it detaches from the weighty launch vehicle and achieves maximum velocity soon after. A rocket motor and attitude jets provide course correction for the craft as it travels.Learn more about Space Travel
NASA's Mars exploration program has turned up some evidence that the red planet may once have been at least partially habitable, though not necessarily for the kind of life forms an Earthling would expect to see on a habitable planet. For example, the Opportunity rover, which began exploring Mars in 2004, has found that pH-neutral water may have been present on parts of the planet's surface billion of years ago, which leads some scientists to believe that microbial life may have been able to survive on Mars. Another Mars rover, Curiosity, also found evidence that life-sustaining water still exists on the planet, mostly underneath Mars's rocky surface.Full Answer >
Mars revolves around the Sun once every 687 Earth days, or 1.88 Earth years. It revolves around the Sun at an average distance of 142 million miles, about 50 million miles farther out than the orbit of Earth.Full Answer >
As of 2015 there is no conclusive evidence that life on Mars exists or has ever existed, but scientists are hesitant to give a definitive answer without conclusive data. Most experts agree that it is theoretically possible that Mars could have life, but without evidence there is no way to know for certain. Full Answer >
Curiosity, a rover that's exploring Mars as of 2014, has a top ground speed of 1.5 inches per second, or about 0.1 mph. Curiosity landed on Mars on Aug. 5, 2012.Full Answer >