MARS

MARS the red planet

MARS

the red planet

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FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT MARS

SIZE & DISTANCE

    Mars and Earth
    İNASA   click image to enlarge

  • Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system, the fourth from the Sun.
  • The diameter of Mars is 4,200 miles, a little more than half the diameter of Earth.
  • At its closest, Mars is about 55 million km (34 million miles) from Earth.
  • In August 2003, Mars came nearest the Earth than it had been in 60,000 years. It won’t be that close again until the year 2287.
  • If you drove to Mars in a car at 60 mph, it would take about 271 years to get there.
  • At its furthest—when Mars is on the other side of the Sun from Earth—Mars can be as much as 401 million km (249 million miles) away.
  • Mars’ distance from the Sun is about 249 million km (155 million miles).
  • Earth’s distance from the Sun is 149 million km (93 million miles).

APPEARANCE

    Mars impact crater
    İNASA   click image to enlarge

  • Mars is the only planet whose surface features can be seen in detail from Earth.
  • Mars is a rusty planet. It’s red color is due to the high iron content of its soil.
  • Along the equator in the Western Hemisphere is a system of deep canyons known as the Valles Marineris (pictured here). It spans a quarter of Mars' circumference. On Earth, it would be as wide as North America and almost 4 times deeper than the Grand Canyon.

DAYS & YEARS

  • A Martian day is 24.6 hours, half an hour longer than ours.
  • A Martian year is almost 2 Earth years, 687 Earth days to be precise.

ATMOSPHERE

  • The Martian atmosphere is very thin, 100 times thinner than Earth’s.
  • Martian air is composed mainly of carbon dioxide (95%), nitrogen (2.7%), and argon (1.6%), with traces of oxygen and water.
  • The atmospheric pressure on Mars is so low the oxygen in your blood would literally turn into bubbles.
  • Mars’ low atmospheric pressure makes it impossible for water to flow on the surface in liquid form (although liquid water does exist below the surface). On the surface, water takes form as water vapor or ice.
  • Mars has no ozone layer. If you were to stand in the Sun for a single second, you would be blasted with a lethal dose of radiation.

WEATHER

  • Temperatures on Mars range from 35°C (95°F) to -143°C (-225°F).
  • Like Earth, Mars has an orbital tilt, producing a summer and winter season.
  • Mars makes an elliptical (oval-shaped) orbit around the Sun, which makes its seasons far more extreme than those of Earth.
  • Mars has the most violent and massive dust storms of any planet. They can top 125 mph, last for months, and spread across the entire surface.
  • Martian dust devil
    İNASA   click image to enlarge

  • The Antarctic deserts of Earth are most similar to climactic conditions on Mars. Cold and dry.
  • In the winter, about 20% of the air on Mars freezes.
  • Because Mars has no oceans, which cause variations in weather conditions, the weather on Mars is much more predictable than on Earth.

GRAVITY

  • Mars has 37.5% of the gravity of Earth.
  • On Mars, a 100-pound person would weigh only 38 pounds and could jump three times as high.

MOONS

    moons of Mars
    İNASA   click image to enlarge

  • Mars has two moons, Phobos (Fear) and Deimos (Panic). They are named for the twin gods who accompanied Mars into battle.
  • Phobos orbits very close to Mars and is constantly moving closer to its surface. Scientists believe it may crash into Mars in about 50 million years.
  • Phobos circles Mars twice a day.
  • Deimos rises and sets every 2.7 days.

GEOLOGY

    Olympus Mons aerial view
    İNASA   click image to enlarge

  • Mars has the most massive volcano in the solar system. Scientists believe it may still be active.
  • This volcano is called Olympus Mons. It is 24 km (15 miles) high or three times the height of Mount Everest.
  • Mars has an enormous canyon called Valles Marineris, which is 6.4 km (4 miles) deep and as long as the continental United States.
  • Mars’ Northern and Southern Hemispheres are vastly different.
  • Mars’ Northern Hemisphere has low elevations and a fairly smooth topography.
  • The Southern Hemisphere has higher elevations and is covered in craters.

WATER

    evidence of water on Mars
    İNASA   click image to enlarge

  • In September 2015, NASA announced that it had conclusive evidence of the presence of liquid water just below Mars’s surface.
  • Mars’ many valleys and canyons suggest that the planet once had large amounts of surface water.
  • Some theorize that Mars once had an ocean the size of our Arctic Ocean hundreds of meters deep.
  • Until recently, it was believed that the polar caps of Mars were composed of frozen carbon dioxide. Now we know that the polar caps are made of frozen water covered with a thin layer of carbon dioxide.
  • If melted into liquid, the amount of water in the southern polar cap would cover all of Mars to a depth of about 11 meters (36 feet).

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