Getting a shuttle to Mars costs about $450 million. If Nissan had its druthers, though, it would cost a little under $34 million, a relative bargain.
And the automaker says that’s considerably less than any of its nearest rivals.
After finishing a journey of 352 million miles last week, the Curiosity rover found Mars, allowing NASA to begin exploring for signs of life. Nissan then set about showing how far its 2013 Nissan Altima midsize sedan could stretch a dollar, as its base version gets an EPA-estimated 38 mpg. That’s about 3 mpg more than its next-closest rivals. Some hybrids will match or exceed that number, but at a premium. And that doesn’t even account for the Nissan Altima hybrid that’s on its way for next year.
Regardless, we reached out to Nissan via Twitter to ask how the automaker would anticipate such a trip being completely highway, as it’s rated at 27 mpg in the city. That could have drastic consequences when it comes to cost if the trip were more stop and go. Nissan’s official response was “At least we’re pretty sure there aren’t any traffic lights or other cars on the road.” Good enough answer for us.
To get to Mars, it would take the Nissan Altima 9,263,158 gallons of regular gas—we assume all highway driving. That’s 514,620 fill-ups, based on the solar system’s gravitational pull having no effect on speed. And if you take no rest stops—because when was the last time you saw a 7-Eleven in space?—you can get to Mars in 670 years while traveling at a consistent 60 mph.
Mind you, we don’t recommend you do any of this. But we will recommend the 2013 Nissan Altima a standard, terrestrial roadtrip in a Nissan Altima. It’s perfectly good at doing that.