Tricky Trip to Mars

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Tricky Trip to Mars

June 15, 2016

People have always dreamed about going to the red planet Mars. It won’t be easy to live there, though. Mars doesn’t have safe air to breathe, or water to drink, or nice Earthy temperatures. And it’s at least 60 million miles away from us. As our fan Hailey S. asked, how long does it take to fly to Mars? Even burning fuel as fast as you can. it takes at least 6 months.

Then, once you get to Mars, how do you live? Another fan, Mary Claire A., just shared that one company has a whole new idea for this. Instead of landing right on Mars dirt, Lockheed Martin wants to make a space station that will fly around Mars. It will work a lot like the International Space Station that orbits Earth — it has probably flown right over your head a few times. The astronauts have everything they need to live on the ISS, so let’s just do the same thing around Mars!

Wee ones: What shape is Mars?

Little kids: If you left for Mars today and flew for 6 months, how old would you be when you landed?  Bonus: If you had left 6 months ago to land on Mars today, in what month would you have left? (It’s June right now.)

Big kids: The Mars space station will be ready for visiting astronauts by the year 2028. How old will you be then?  Bonus: If you took 1 year to fly that 60 million miles, how many miles would you fly each month? (Hint if needed: What if you took just 6 months, or 1/2 year?)




Wee ones: A circle, or in 3D, a “sphere” (ball).

Little kids: Different for everyone…if you’re having a birthday between now and December 2016, you’ll be 1 year older than now, otherwise you’ll be the same number age.  Bonus: December 2015.

Big kids: Different for everyone…2028 is 12 years from now, so add 12 to your current age.  Bonus: 5 million miles each month. A 6-month trip would be 10 million miles a month.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking while still in diapers, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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