Interplanetary Navigation. The most efficient way to send a spacecraft from the earth to another planet is by using a Hohmann transfer orbit (Fig. P13.87). If the orbits of the departure and destination planets are circular, the Hohmann transfer orbit is an elliptical orbit whose perihelion and aphelion are tangent to the orbits of the two planets. The rockets are fired briefly at the departure planet to put the spacecraft into the transfer orbit; the spacecraft then coasts until it reaches the destination planet. The rockets are then fired again to put the spacecraft into the same orbit about the sun as the destination planet. (a) For a flight from earth to Mars, in what direction must the rockets be fired at the earth and at Mars: in the direction of motion, or opposite the direction of motion? What about for a flight from Mars to the earth? (b) How long does a one-way trip from the the earth to Mars take, between the firings of the rockets? (c) To reach Mars from the earth, the launch must be timed so that Mars will be at the right spot when the spacecraft reaches Mars’s orbit around the sun. At launch, what must the angle between a sun–Mars line and a sun–earth line be? Use data from Appendix F.

Step 1 of 4

Introduction

Here we have to first find out the semi major axis of the orbit of the rocket to mars. Then we have to calculate the time period.

(a) During flight from earth to mars, the speed of the rocket needs to be increased hence the rocket must be fired in the direction of motion of the rocket on earth. At mars, to capture the rocket in mars orbit, we have to decrease the speed of the rocket, hence the rocket must be fired opposite to the direction of motion of the rocket at mars.