### Question

How long does it take for a radio signal to go from Earth to Mars?

Radio signals are electromagnetic waves, such as light or X-ray. The speed of electromagnetic waves in vacuum, is 300000km/sec (approximately).

In order to calculate the time of travel with this speed from Earth to Mars, we need to know the distance.

When the Mars and the Earth are at the opposite sides of the Sun, the distance is the largest: approximately: 378 million km. The time needed for an electromagnetic wave to cover this distance is approximately: 21 minute.

The closest distance between Mars and Earth is 78 million km, the time in this case is: 4.3 min.

So the time of travel between Earth and Mars is between 4.3 minutes and 21 minutes, depending on the actual distance between the two planets.
Answered by: Ferenc Szekely, Ph.D., Physicist, ELTE, Budapest, Hungary

### Support US

Our server costs have gone up and our advertising revenue has gone down. You do the math! If you find our site useful, consider donating to keep us going. Thanks!

### Science Quote

'To myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.'

Isaac Newton
(1643-1727)