Mars facts: How far is the planet from Earth?

THE US, the UAE and China have all spent 2021 trying to reach Mars on three seperate missions.

But how far away is the red planet from Earth? Here's all you need to know…

How far away is Mars?

The distance between Mars and Earth depends where the planets are in their orbits of the Sun.

Mars, also known as the Red Planet, should be around 33.9million miles (54.6m kilometres) away from Earth at its closest.

At its furthest Mars is 250 million miles away from our planet.

Mars is around 141.6m miles (227.9m kilometres) away from the Sun.

There is an immense distance between Earth and Mars, which means any trip to the red planet will take a very long time.

It's made more complicated by the fact the distance is constantly changing as the two planets rotate around the sun.

The closest the Earth and Mars would ever be is a distance of 33.9million miles – that's 9,800 times the distance between London and New York.

That's really rare though: the more useful distance is the average, which is 140million miles.

No human has ever set foot on Mars.

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The Soviets first started sending unmanned space probes to Mars in the 1960s.

The first successful space probe to orbit Mars was Nasa's Mariner 4.

This happened in 1965. Soviet probes landed on the Red Planet's surface in 1971.

Since then numerous spacecraft have been sent to explore Mars but we'll have to wait a bit longer until a person is sent.

Nasa once revealed the aim of putting a person on Mars by 2037.

How many moons does Mars have? 

Mars has just two moons – Phobos and Deimos.

Mars is the second most habitable planet in our Solar System, after Earth of course.

It's not extremely hot or cold and it's thought to have enough gravity for the human body to be able to adapt.

However, there's no free oxygen in the atmosphere so humans wouldn't be able to breathe unless they had their own oxygen supply.

Humans would also need to wear a pressure suit.

The soil is toxic, water is scarce and you'd need protection from radiation and the cold.

Any life we have on Earth would have to be in some form of protective bubble if it wanted to survive on Mars.

Some scientists think we could change the planets atmosphere so it was more habitable.

Other Mars planet facts

Here's what you need to know about the red planet…

  • Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun
  • It is named after the Roman god of war
  • The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth but due to the difference in gravity you could jump three times higher there than you can here
  • Mars is mountainous and hosts the tallest mountain known in the Solar System called Olympus Mons, which is three times higher than Everest
  • Mars is considered to be the second most habitable planet after Earth
  • It takes the planet 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
  • So far, there has been 39 missions to Mars but only 16 of these have been successful

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