With all the recent talk about the Red Planet, we started wondering what it would be like if cars could travel … in space?! Crazy right? It’s impossible today, but let’s say we take a page from the Cosmos, and believe a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat can in fact travel through space.
Why go to the Red Planet in a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat?
If you’re going on a long journey to another planet, you’re definitely going to want the speed of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Additionally, wouldn’t we want Martians to know Earthlings have a little pizzazz?
First off, we need to make the necessary upgrades for breathing. We also need to think of a few things; once a propulsion engine gets us past Earth’s gravitational force, we’re left to just a car. Space has no traction, so we can’t steer. HEMI or turbocharged engine, it doesn’t matter, we can’t go very far – well we can, given our inertia, but we’ll be traveling aimlessly into blackness. So let’s also say we have a liquid-fuel cryogenic rocket engine with the same parameters of an everyday car engine, and can be powered by everyday gasoline – basically, a car engine redesigned to propel us through space whilst keeping its same specs i.e. horsepower, torque, rpm, etc. We also need to have the exhaust connected to the steering wheel so we can steer.
How long did it take to travel, miles and hours?
Alright, so based on what we know, the journey to Mars changes dramatically based on its location in its planetary orbit. To travel from our home planet, we need to wait for Mars to be the closest it can be to us. Mars is closest to the Earth every two years, but the numbers change every time. The next time our red neighbor is close, it’ll be 2018, between 55 – 58 million kilometers away.
Since 55 million kilometers away is no quick road trip, we’re definitely going to be putting the pedal to the metal and we’re going to max out the Challenger SRT Hellcat at 200 miles per hour. To travel to Mars, we need to cover more than 34 million miles. It will take us a little over 170,000 hours and 4.5 minutes give or take a few seconds. So just a little over 19 years. Yikes, I hope we have enough toilet paper.
How much gas did it take for us to get here?
On Earth, the fuel economy for the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat on the highway is 21 mpg. A full tank carries about 18.5 gallons. So on a full tank, the car has a distance of about 388.5 miles. In zero-gravity, due to the lack of stress on the engine, this amount may be more. But without proper testing, we can estimate that to travel from Earth, we’d use about 88,000 gallons of gas, and have 4,755 fill-ups. Not that bad, right?
How many oil changes would we need to make?
Ha! This one is easy. They say the standard is to change oil every 3,000 miles, but more modern cars can last longer. To keep it simple, if going by the age-old rule, then we need to change our oil every 3,000 miles, or 11,392 times.
Did we have a hard time getting here?
The asteroid belt starts after Mars, so we not need worry about that. Depending on whether there are any comets or meteorites in season, we may be treated to a light show, but other than that, given proper planning, it should be smooth sailing for about two decades. Hibernation Chamber, anyone?
What can we expect in Martian Atmosphere?
Suffocation. We can expect to suffocate on Mars, with the atmosphere containing 95.3% carbon dioxide (CO2) and 2.7% nitrogen. On Earth our atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, accompanied by 1% of argon. We need to have our space suits on at all times.
What are the astronomical views worth noting?
There are many amazing views to see from Mars’ surface. First off, unlike our planet, Mars has two moons – Phobos and Deimos. The larger of the two, Phobos, is in close orbit to Mars, and one can see it three times a day. Deimos is a little further out however, and takes a little over 30 hours to make a round trip.
Our planet will be no more than a dim, tiny star amongst the many other specks of light throughout space. It’s actually one of Mar’s “evening stars”. With a good telescope, we’d be able to see Earth, our Moon, and even a somewhat clearer image of Jupiter. It is on the other side of the asteroid belt after all – only about another 553 million miles to go!
The Mars sky is supposed to be beautiful according to images taken by various rovers. Much like sunrise and sunset from our home planet, the skies have different hues of color due to the thin atmosphere and lack of oxygen. Expect to see a lot of purples, way more than we see back home.
How long is a day on Mars? A year?
Mars actually only rotates about 40 minutes slower than Earth, according to scientists. This doesn’t change it by much however, and it makes a full rotation in 24.6 hours. An entire year is 686.98 Earth days. That’s almost double how long it takes Earth to go around the sun.
What changes will our car undergo?
Well, with less gravity on Mars, our vehicles may not take as much of a beating. For one, tire pressure wouldn’t matter. The gravity on Mars is roughly 1/3 of that on Earth, so who can really say it matters if our tires are flat or somewhat deflated? We have a freaking jet engine, seriously!
Since a vehicle’s weight does have an effect on its mileage and fuel efficiency, we may get a lot more out of a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat than we originally thought. Taking gravity into account, back on our home planet, gravity is 9.807 m/s squared; on Mars it’s 3.711 m/s squared. Mathematicians would have a stroke, but let’s divide 3.711 by 9.807, which gives us 0.378…or 37.84%. So a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat weighs 62.15% less on Mars. With a little more horrible math, could we go so far as to say it has 62% more mileage?
Let’s do one last math problem for good measure.
How long will it take to travel around Mar’s full circumference?
Well…we have two equations here. The diameter of a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat wheel, multiplied by pi; which gives us the circumference. Then we divide the distance of one full round trip around Mars, which has a radius of 2,106 miles, by the circumference of one of the Hellcat’s wheels. This would give us how many revolutions the wheel would make, which comes down to rotations per minute (RPM).
Based on some research, the Hellcat peaks at 6,000 rpm. The diameter of Mars is 4,212 miles. The standard wheel on a Dodge SRT Hellcat is 20 inches in diameter.
20” multiplied by pi is 62.83, but we’ll keep it short at 62.8”.
4212 miles multiplied by pi is 13,225.68 miles, or 837,979,084.8 inches (circumference of Mars in inches), which we’ll refer to X.
So if a standard Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat wheel has a circumference of 62.8” and it’s traveling at 6,000 rpm, how long will it take to travel the distance of X?
62.8” x 6000 = 376,800 inches traveled
X divided by 376,800 = 2223.936
2223.936 divided by 60 (for 60 minutes) = 37.06 hours.
In a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, traveling at 6,000 rpm, you can perform a round trip around Mars in 37 hours.
Take that MATH!