Facts about Mars

Mars Life facts about mars

Interesting Facts about Planet Mars

  • Mars is named after the Roman god of war.
  • Mars has 2 moons called Deimos and Phobos. They are named after the two horses that pull the Roman god of war, Mars’, chariot. They may be asteroids captured by Mars’ gravity.
  • Mars is the 4th planet from the sun. It is 227,936,637 km (141 million miles) away from the sun. It would take 300 days (around 8 months) to get there from Earth.

Mars is smaller than Earth.

  •  with a diameter of 4217 miles. This makes it the second smallest planet in our solar system.
  • A day on Mars lasts 24 hours and 37 minutes.
  • One year on Mars is 687 days long. That’s 1.9 Earth years. This is because Mars is further away from the sun so it takes longer to orbit it.
  • The tilt on the axis of Mars is 25 degrees which means that the planet experiences seasons like we do on Earth as different parts of the planet are closer to the sun at different times of its orbit.
  • Mars has a thin atmosphere made from 95.9% carbon dioxide and 2.7% nitrogen. The atmosphere is so thin that it’s not thick enough to trap the sun’s heat so it is very cold – ranging from -100℃ in winter to 20℃ in summer.

Mars has very weak gravity. 

  • Gravity on Mars is 37% less than on Earth. This means that on Mars you could jump 3x higher than on Earth.
  • Mars is a terrestrial planet because it has a hard and rocky surface. Its northern side is full of flat plains and the southern side has ridges and craters.
  • Mars’ surface has many channels, plains, and canyons which could have been caused by water erosion (water wearing away the surface). This could be evidence that open water in liquid form once existed on the surface billions of years ago.
  • Mars experiences violent dust storms powered by the sun which can last for months. The dust storms can completely cover the planet and continually change Mars’ surface.
  • Mars is home to Olympus Mons, a dormant volcano and the largest volcano and highest mountain in our solar system. It is 16 miles high and 600 km across the base, making it 3x the height of Mount Everest.
  • The biggest crater on Mars is Borealis Basin. It is 5300 miles from end to end and covers 40% of planet’s surface.

Mars has the largest canyon in our solar system,

  • Valles Marineris. It is 4 miles deep and stretches thousands of miles long.
  • Mars has north and south poles like earth. The polar ice caps are covered in a layer of frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice).
  • As it’s so close to Earth, Mars is the planet that humans will most likely step foot on and explore first.
  • We sent out Mars Rovers (which are like robots) on missions to explore Mars and collect samples and record scientific data for scientists on Earth to study. Some of these Rovers include Viking 1, Viking 2, Mars 2, Mars 3, Spirit, Phoenix, Pathfinder, Curiosity, and Opportunity.

There is no evidence of life on Mars.

  • However, it is the planet with the best conditions to support life and scientists believe there is potential for life under the surface of Mars

The Red Planet​

Home to both the highest mountain and the deepest, longest valley in the solar system.

 Olympus Mons  is roughly 17 miles (27 kilometres) high, about three times as tall as Mount Everest, while the Marineris system of valleys — named after the Mariner 9 probe that discovered it in 1971 — reaches as deep as 6 miles (10 km) and runs east-west for roughly 2,500 miles (4,000 km), about one-fifth of the distance around Mars and close to the width of Australia.

Scientists think the Valles Marineris formed mostly by rifting of the crust as it got stretched. Individual canyons within the system are as much as 60 miles (100 km) wide.

 The canyons merge in the central part of the Valles Marineris in a region as much as 370 miles (600 km) wide. 

Large channels emerging from the ends of some canyons and layered sediments within suggest that the canyons might once have been filled with liquid water.

Mars also has the largest volcanoes in the solar system.

 Olympus Mons being one of them. The massive volcano, which is about 370 miles (600 km) in diameter, is wide enough to cover the state of New Mexico. Olympus Mons is a shield volcano, with slopes that rise gradually like those of Hawaiian volcanoes and was created by eruptions of lava that flowed for long distances before solidifying. Mars also has many other kinds of volcanic landforms, from small, steep-sided cones to enormous plains coated in hardened lava. Some minor eruptions might still occur on the planet today.

Channels, valleys, and gullies are found all over Mars, and suggest that liquid water might have flowed across the planet’s surface in recent times. Some channels can be 60 miles (100 km) wide and 1,200 miles (2,000 km) long.  Water may still lie in the cracks and the underground rocks. A study by scientists in 2018 suggested that salty water below the Martian surface could hold a considerable amount of oxygen, which could support microbial life. However, the amount of oxygen depends on temperature and pressure; temperature changes on Mars from time to time as the tilt of its rotation axis shifts.

Many regions of Mars are flat, low-lying plains. 

The lowest of the northern plains are among the flattest, smoothest places in the solar system, potentially created by water that once flowed across the Martian surface. The northern hemisphere mostly lies at a lower elevation than the southern hemisphere, suggesting the crust may be thinner in the north than in the south. This difference between the north and south might be due to a very large impact shortly after the birth of Mars.

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