Just how far IS it to Mars?

We often see images like the one below, where the size of the planets is to scale, but the distance between the planets is not. So how far is Earth from Mars, really?

Source: Wikipedia

Quite a long way, as it turns out. The distance ranges between about 56 million km and 401 million km, depending on the positions of the planets.

This great website provides a really nice illustration (to scale) and animation of the distance between Earth and Mars when they are at their closest… and will leave your head reeling slightly after the journey, which takes place at about 3 times the speed of light!

earth and moon
Source: http://distancetomars.com/

 

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