Facts about Mars
Mars is named after the Roman god of War. The Ancient Romans believed that the planet Mars was the God of War.
Mars is the only planet inhabited solely by robots.
NASA sent The Opportunity rover robot to Mars in 2003. It was expected to last three months. It is still operational today. The Opportunity has travelled over 26 miles on Mars.
Mars’ diameter is 4,220 miles.
Mars is half the size of Earth.
On average, Mars is 142 million miles from the Sun. At its closest, Mars is 127 million miles from Sun.
At its furthest, Mars is 155 million miles from Earth. At its closest, Mars is 34 million miles from Earth.
A year on Mars is 687 Earth days.
One day on Mars lasts for 24 hours and 39 minutes.
Mars has polar ice caps.
The equator is the hottest part of Mars, reaching temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius.
The poles have the coldest temperatures on Mars reaching temperatures of -153 degrees Celsius.
Despite the fact that it’s nicknamed The Red Planet, Mars is butterscotch brown. If you have seen pictures of the red surface of Mars, those pictures were originally black-and-white and they were coloured in to appear how astronomers believed the surface looked.
On the surface of Mars, the Sun seems to be about the same size as a pea held at arms-length.
It takes 12.7 minutes for the Sun’s light to reach Mars.
The Curiosity Robot on Mars sings Happy Birthday to itself once a year.
Every five years, the planet is blanketed by a dust storm that blocks out the Sun for several months.
Mars moves 20 miles per second.
Mars harbours a volcano called Olympus Mons. It is the biggest volcano (and mountain) in the Solar System, measuring nearly 16 miles high. That makes it almost three times higher than Mount Everest. What’s even more impressive is that it is 370 miles wide. This means that Olympus Mons is slightly smaller… than France.
Mars’ most identifiable feature is Valles Marineris. It is a gimungous crack on the planet’s surface. It’s 2,485 miles long, 124 miles wide, and four miles deep. That’s ten times longer and wider than the Grand Canyon.
Mars has an atmosphere but it’s only 1% as thick as Earth’s atmosphere and it is mostly composed of carbon dioxide.
Mars has storms similar to tornados called dust-devils.
As of December 2014, Mars has the most active spacecraft orbiting a planet besides Earth. The spacecraft are called Odyssey, Express, Reconnaissance, MAVEN, and Mangalyaan.
Mars has two moons called Deimos and Phobos. Deimos is only 16 miles across. Phobos is merely nine miles across.
Mars’ moons are shaped like potatoes. Because of Deimos and Phobos’ odd shape, it’s likely that they are not conventional moons and are simply asteroids that got dislodged from the nearby Asteroid Belt and got absorbed into Mars’ gravity field.
Phobos rotates around Mars faster than the planet spins, meaning that it gradually gets closer and closer to the planet’s surface. In a few million years, it will enter the planet’s atmosphere and collide into the surface.
There have been 43 unmanned missions to Mars. 21 of them have failed.
Mars has seasons.
By analysing Mars recurring slope linae (dark soil streaks running down slopes,) NASA determined that they contain hydrated salts which are formed by water. This water could provide a habitat for microbial life.
Pieces of Mars have fallen to Earth as meteorites.
Ancient Egyptians called Mars “Her Desher.” This means “The Red One.”
The first space probe to take pictures of Mars’ surface was the Mariner 4 in 1964.There is more than enough evidence to prove that Mars used to be covered in water. Probes have located countless dried up lakes and riverbeds and minerals that can only form in water. It probably even had oceans. So where did it all go?