Ask Jimmy and the Bug
art by Dean Stanton, text by Ellen Braaf
Brendan R. from Illinois wants to know: “How long does it take to get to Mars?”
It depends on when you go. Earth and Mars zip around the Sun like cars on a funky racetrack. They travel at different speeds and in different-shaped “lanes,” or orbits—with slower Mars on the outside and faster Earth on the inside. The distance between them keeps changing. They can be as close as 34.65 million miles or as far apart as 243 million miles.
- In Lesson 3 you read about Mars. What similarities are there between Earth and Mars?
[anno: Mars has some oxygen in its atmosphere. The planet also has frozen water at its poles. The surface of the planet has canyons and valleys.]
- Why do you think that NASA is interested in learning more about Mars? Write a short paragraph about why you think NASA wants to study Mars.
[anno: Answers will vary but could include that NASA might want to find out about the possibility of life ever existing on Mars. NASA might also want to know if people could ever live on Mars.]