# Why don't we take the shortest route to Mars?

As far as i understand we are going on a route shown in the picture. When we can actually let Mars do the travelling for us and just take the short route and wait for Mars to arrive... Won't that be faster? I have added a picture with some arrows to show what i mean.

The original picture can be found here -> http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Inspiration_Mars_trajectory.svg_.png

• The way we're going about it takes change in velocity of about 5.5 km/s (from LEO). The way you propose would require reducing orbital velocity of the Earth from roughly 30 km/s to 0, then climbing up the Earth's and Solar system's gravity well to Mars' orbital altitude, and waiting there for Mars to hit us at its orbital speed of about 24 km/s! In other words, the way it's done is the shortest way to Mars. The way you do it is the shortest way of connecting two static points on a piece of paper. It doesn't work like that even for radio communications that travel at the speed of light. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 19:13
• okey guys, now i feel stupid again :-) Thanks for the fast reply! It seems with current technology this is not an option. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 19:24
• Short of someone inventing an anti-gravity drive, if that's even possible as it assumes gravitons are real and that their antiparticles (antigravitons) can be produced, we'll never travel to Mars in such a direct line, and even then it would be energy inefficient. Say, beamed propulsion of extreme power and efficiency would prescribe an inverted S shape (two brachistochrone curves with a turn in the middle) trajectory. Even if we uploaded to Mars, we'd have to target its position anywhere from 3 to 22 minutes in the future. Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 19:43
• OP: As an aside, if this kind of thing interests you, and you want to really get an intuitive feeling for this kind of thing, try Kerbal Space Program. My experience was such that a lot of this stuff went from "somewhat mysterious" to "obvious". Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 20:40
• @CGCampbell Just three are sufficient for the question at hand (see e.g. this trajectory, click on the single result an hit play). Inclination change is minute (from 1.5° to 0, depending when you launch) and can be achieved directly from launch site by targeting a specific time of the day launch window when Earth's axial tilt aligns with target inclination. Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 17:51