Awesome Facts About Mars That Will Make You Love The Red Planet Even More
Mars is a cold desert world. It is half the size of Earth. Mars is sometimes called the Red Planet. It’s red because of rusty iron in the ground.
Like Earth, Mars has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons, and weather. It has a very thin atmosphere made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon.
There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but now water mostly exists in icy dirt and thin clouds. On some Martian hillsides, there is evidence of liquid salty water in the ground.
Scientists want to know if Mars may have had living things in the past. They also want to know if Mars could support life now or in the future.
The fourth planet from the Sun, Mars is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. This dynamic planet has seasons, polar ice caps, extinct volcanoes, canyons and weather.
Mars is one of the most explored bodies in our solar system, and it’s the only planet where we’ve sent rovers to roam the alien landscape.
These robotic explorers have found lots of evidence that Mars was much wetter and warmer, with a thicker atmosphere, billions of years ago.
10 Need-to-Know Things About Mars
1. If the Sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a dime, and Mars would be about as big as an aspirin tablet.
2. Mars orbits our Sun, a star. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun at an average distance of about 228 million km (142 million miles) or 1.52 AU.
3. One day on Mars takes a little over 24 hours. Mars makes a complete orbit around the Sun (a year in Martian time) in 687 Earth days.
4. Mars is a rocky planet. Its solid surface has been altered by volcanoes, impacts, winds, crustal movement and chemical reactions.
5. Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2), argon (Ar), nitrogen (N2), and a small amount of oxygen and water vapor.
6. Mars has two moons named Phobos and Deimos.
7. There are no rings around Mars.
8. Several missions have visited this planet, from flybys and orbiters to rovers on the surface.The first true Mars mission success was the Mariner 4 flyby in 1965.
9. At this time, Mars’ surface cannot support life as we know it. Current missions are determining Mars’ past and future potential for life.
10. Mars is known as the Red Planet because iron minerals in the Martian soil oxidize, or rust, causing the soil and atmosphere to look red.
Did You Know?
With about 1/3 the gravity of Earth, anyone on Mars could dunk a basketball in a regulation goal. But the required spacesuit might cut down on your edge.
Mars Significant Events
1659: Christiaan Huygens sketches the dark marking called Syrtis Major on Mars.
1877: Giovanni Schiaparelli maps Mars, including canali, “channels” (not “canals”) he saw connecting some features.
1877: Asaph Hall discovers the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos.
1965: NASA’s Mariner 4 sends back 22 photos of Mars, the world’s first close-up photos of a planet beyond Earth.
1971: Mariner 9 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit Mars, and maps much of the surface.
1976: Viking 1 and 2 land on the surface of Mars.
1997: Mars Pathfinder lands and dispatches Sojourner, the first wheeled rover to explore the surface of another planet.
2002: Mars Odyssey begins its mission to make global observations and find buried water ice on Mars.
2004: Twin Mars Exploration Rovers named Spirit and Opportunity find strong evidence that Mars once had long-term liquid water on the surface.
2006: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter begins returning high-resolution images as it studies the history of water on Mars and seasonal changes.
2008: Phoenix finds signs of possible habitability, including the occasional presence of liquid water and potentially favorable soil chemistry.
2012: NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity lands in Gale Crater and finds conditions once suited for ancient microbial life on Mars.