Facts about Planet Mars
Mars is a very interesting planet that is believed to have once upon a time supported life. It is so close to our planet earth and Scientists are really interested in discovering it more and more.
Today we delve into some important and otherwise interesting details about this red planet.
1. The Name Mars and its History
The planet Mars got its name from the Roman god of war and agriculture who watched over the people who fought for their community and as well tended to farms to produce food.
Mars, the Roman god was also represented by color red like mars.
2. Earth and Mars are similar
Both earth and mars have North and South polar ice caps that are formed from frozen water. For this reason, life might just as well have existed on mars.
One earth’s year is 365 days while that of mars is 687 years. This is almost double the length. This is because Mars is further away from the Sun than Earth and needs more time to revolve around the Sun.
3. A day on Mars is the same length as Earth
However, the days are almost the same length. A day in Mars is 24 hours and 39 minutes while a day in earth is exactly 24 hours. That makes a 39-minute difference!
Both have seasons only that the seasons of Mars are longer because it is further from the sun than the earth. Mars summer days have a temperature of -5oC. Way too cold for summer, isn’t it?
4. Mars is very cold
The earth is covered with a protective layer of atmosphere that insulates it keeping it warm. Mars on the other hand has a very thin layer of carbon dioxide. Therefore, it tends to have colder summers with -5 degree centigrade temperatures and freezing winters with -82 degree centigrade compared to earth.
5. There are Dust Storms on Mars
Here on earth we are used to experiencing storms during the rainy season. Mars on the hand experiences storms of dust. In fact, mars experiences larger storms than any other planet.
These storms are responsible for eroding the surface of Mars. Scientists think that a long time ago there were plants and animals on mars.
6. Mars is called the Red Planet
While Earth and Mars are a lot more similar than you ever imagined, one important difference sets them apart. The surface of earth is covered with water and land masses and greenery.
However the surface of mars is covered with a layer iron oxide dust (similar to rust) which has a reddish color. That is why mars appears reddish in color when we look at it.
7. There are mountains, canyons and craters on Mars
Mountains – Mars has the largest mountain in the entire solar system. It is called Olympus Mons which is three times taller than Earth’s highest Mount Everest at 25km height. Mount Everest is only about 8kilometers high.
Canyons – A canyon is a long narrow yet steep valley found between rocks. Again, Mars has the biggest canyon in the solar system. It is called Valles Marineris which stretches 4000kms across the surface of Mars.
Craters – When asteroids, meteors and other similar objects slam the surface of mars, they form craters. Mars’ surface has about 43,000 large craters and myriad smaller ones.
8. The fourth Planet
It is the fourth planet from the sun in the solar system at a distance of 141,633,260 miles. The earth is the third planet so mars and earth are close to each other. Now you understand why scientists are more interested in planet mars than in other planets
9. Mars is half the size of Earth
Mars is much smaller than earth in size. It is 53% the size of Earth which is almost half its size and has a 6794.4 km diameter.
10. Gravity on Mars is half that of earth
Mars has a very weak pull of gravity. This makes things lighter on Mars. For example, a 70 pound human being on earth would weigh 27pounds on Mars. You must have heard that it is not very easy to walk on the ground on mars without being lifted off. This is why!
11. It has 2 Moons
Mars has two moons, Deimos and Phobos.
12. The Opposition
Did you know that around every two years, the Sun, Mars, and the Earth line up? At this point, the earth and mars come closer. This is called an opposition.
13. Pathfinder was the first rover to operate on Mars
Lots of spacecrafts have been send to mars by different countries. Some of them orbit the planet while some of it landed on it and moved around on the surface on the surface of Mars.
The Pathfinder was the first rover probe to land on mars. It was kind of a mini robot with wheels to move around on the surface.
So there you have it! Have you learnt anything new about Mars?
Resources and References
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars – Wikipedia page on Mars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_Mars – Details about the unmanned spacecraft missions send to mars to study it