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I wonder if it is possible to design a mission to Mars that would slingshot around the sun i.e., gravity assist. The Helios misions (which used gravity assist from Sun as I understand) have done this and achieved speeds of 250,000KM/HR. This assumes appropriate positioning of mars & earth orbits? Is this feasible? Could we get to Mars faster and or using less energy?

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  • $\begingroup$ There are several good answers there that do seem to answer this question as well. In a nutshell; probably not. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jul 15 '19 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ Not really, it takes a long time to get to the sun, you're better off just going straight to Mars. $\endgroup$ – GdD Jul 15 '19 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ To get around the Sun, somehow you need to pay the $\approx$ 30km/s $\delta$ v, the orbital velocity of the Earth. It is totally unfeasible with any chemical rocket. It is possible with various gravitational assist by the inner planets (mostly, Venus), but it is slow and unfeasible to get to the Mars. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jul 15 '19 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ @peterh Not to mention, once you speed up, you have to somehow lose that velocity too if you want to "arrive" at Mars, not "speed-by-at-ludicrous-speed" Mars. $\endgroup$ – Magic Octopus Urn Jul 18 '19 at 18:41

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