(WYTV) – Mars is getting crowded.
China has just launched a mission to land on Mars, unmanned, of course; and the United Arab Emirates has just sent a spacecraft to Mars as well, designed to orbit the planet.
And NASA is sending our latest Mars Rover called Perseverance. It will blast off next week, land on Mars, collect soil samples and eventually return them to Earth. It will also deliver a Mars helicopter called Ingenuity, and it will fly around like a drone.
Mars is currently home to 16 robots, but only two are working: NASA’s Curiosity Rover and InSight lander.
You could say Mars is the only known planet in the Universe to be entirely inhabited by robots.
How long does it take to get there?
The distance between Earth and Mars is constantly changing.
The quickest journey to the Red Planet was the Mariner 7 flyby in 1969. Mariner took 128 days to arrive.
The distance between Mars and Earth is always changing as they spin around the Sun. At it’s closest, Mars is just 34 million miles away — the farthest, 250 million miles.
Mars and Earth have very similar lengths of day. One day on Mars last 24 hours and 39 minutes.
Mars has clouds and weather. In fact, it can have monster dust storms.
The warmest it gets is maybe 70 degrees Fahrenheit on the Equator in summer. The average temperature for the Red Planet is 80 below zero.
Mars is a rocky planet, covered in craters, mountains, volcanoes and deep canyons stretching thousands of miles.