Know 35 important facts about Planet Mars 35 Facts About Mars the Red Planet Roman God of War
The first person to watch Mars with a telescope was Galileo
Robot spacecraft began observing Mars in the 1960s, with the United States launching Mariner 4 there in 1964 and Mariners 6 and 7 in 1969.
In 1971, Mariner 9 orbited Mars, mapping about 80 percent of the planet, and discovering its volcanoes and canyons.
NASA's Viking 1 lander touched down onto the surface of Mars in 1976, the first successful landing onto the Red Planet. It took the first close-up pictures of the Martian surface but found no strong evidence for life.
The next two craft to successfully reach Mars were the Mars Pathfinder, a lander, and Mars Global Surveyor, an orbiter, both launched in 1996.
A small robot onboard Pathfinder named Sojourner — the first wheeled rover to explore the surface of another planet — ventured over the planet's surface analyzing rocks.
In 2001, the United States launched the Mars Odyssey probe, which discovered vast amount of water ice beneath the Martian surface, mostly in the upper three feet (one meter). It remains uncertain whether more water lies underneath, since the probe cannot see water any deeper.
In 2003, the closest Mars had passed to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, NASA launched two rovers, nicknamed Spirit, and Opportunity, which explored different regions of the Martian surface, and both found signs that water once flowed on the planet's surface. In 2008, NASA sent another mission, Phoenix, to land in the northern plains of Mars and search for water,
Two orbiters — NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA's Mars Express — are keeping Mars Odyssey company over the planet. In 2011, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, with its rover named Curiosity, is scheduled to investigate Martian rocks to determine the geologic processes that created them and find out more about the present and past habitability of Mars.
Mars is the only planet whose surface can be seen in detail from the Earth.
Mars is red because it is rusty. There is a lot of iron in the soil, and the air on Mars has made it turn red-just like rusty iron on Earth.
One of five planets known to ancients; Mars was the Roman god of war, agriculture and the state
The Martian “day” is about half an hour longer than Earth.
Yellowish brown to reddish color; occasionally the third-brightest object in the night sky after the moon and Venus
It is the seventh largest planet in our solar system.
Average diameter 4,212 miles (6,780 kilometers); about half the size of Earth, but twice the size of Earth’s moon
Same land area as Earth, reminiscent of a cold, rocky desert
Mars has the tallest Volcano in the Solar System named Olympus Mons and it is 15 miles high which is three times the height of Mount Everest.
Mass 1/10th of Earth’s; gravity only 38 percent as strong as Earth’s
Density 3.9 times greater than water (compared with Earth’s 5.5 times greater than water)
No planet-wide magnetic field detected; only localized ancient remnant fields in various regions
Fourth planet from the sun, the next beyond Earth
About 1.5 times farther from the sun than Earth is
Orbit elliptical; distance from sun varies from a mini-mum of 128.4 million miles (206.7 million kilometers) to a maximum of 154.8 million miles (249.2 million kilometers); average is 141.5 million miles (227.7 million kilometers)
Revolves around sun once every 687 Earth days
Rotation period (length of day): 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35 seconds (1.027 Earth days
Poles tilted 25 degrees, creating seasons similar to Earth’s
Atmosphere composed chiefly of carbon dioxide (95.3 percent), nitrogen (2.7 percent) and argon (1.6 percent)
Surface atmospheric pressure less than 1/100th that of Earth’s average
Surface winds of 0 to about 20 miles per hour (0 to about 9 meters per second), with gusts of about 90 miles per hour (about 40 meters per second)
Local, regional and global dust storms; also whirl-winds called dust devils
Surface temperature averages minus 64 F (minus 53 C); varies from minus 199 F (minus 128 C) during polar night to 80 F (27 C) at equator during midday at closest point in orbit to sun
Highest point is Olympus Mons, a huge shield volcano about 16 miles (26 kilometers) high and 370 miles (600 kilometers) across; has about the same area as Arizona
Canyon system of Valles Marineris is largest and deepest known in solar system; extends more than 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) and has 3 to 6 miles (5 to 10 kilometers) relief from floors to tops of surrounding plateaus
Two irregularly shaped moons, each only a few kilometers wide
Larger moon named Phobos (“fear”); smaller is Deimos (“terror”), named for attributes personified in Greek mythology as sons of the god of war
The two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos were discovered by American astronomer Asaph Hall over the course of a week in 1877. Hall had almost given up his search for a moon of Mars, but his wife Angelina urged him on he discovered Deimos the next night, and Phobos six days after that. He named the moons after the sons of the Greek war god Ares — Phobos means "fear," while Deimos means "rout."
Scientists think that the climate on Mars 3.5 billion years ago was similar to that of early Earth: warm and wet. But because of chemical reactions between Mars' carbon dioxide atmosphere and water, most of its carbon dioxide was used up forming carbonate rocks.
Mars is too small (10 times less massive than the earth) and does not have any recycling of its carbonate. So now, the Mars atmosphere is very thin, the temperature is very cold, and what water remains is either frozen in the Martian poles as permafrost or hidden in deep underground springs.
Mars' current climate changes drastically during the year. It has seasons similar to the Earth's due the tilt of its axis. But because its orbit around the Sun is elliptical; the distance from the Sun varies about by 20% depending on where it is in its annual orbit. The seasons in one hemisphere (South) are more extreme while in the other (north) they are less extreme.
The temperature on Mars may reach a high of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) at noon, at the equator in the summer, or a low of about -225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius) at the poles. Obviously, this is very inhospitable for humans, but it is also of some concern for the electronics and mechanical parts of a Mars airplane and its instrumentation. In the mid-latitudes, the average temperature would be about -50 degrees Celsius with a nighttime minimum of -60 degrees Celsius and a summer midday maximum of about 0 degrees Celsius.
One of Mars' moons, Phobos, is moving closer and closer to Mars. Scientists think that one day it will crash into Mars. Phobos orbits the planet at such a low altitude that it’s going to eventually be torn apart by the gravity of Mars. It will survive as a ring for a few years, and then the debris will rain down on Mars. Scientists disagree on when this will happen. It could happen as soon as 10 million years from now, and no later than 50 million years.
Like Earth, the poles of Mars are covered in ice. The ice becomes thicker in the winter.
A hundred pound man would weigh 38 pounds on Mars.
Both rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, provided evidence that liquid water once existed on the surface of Mars.
Making Mars colonization a reality is advocated by several groups with different reasons and proposals. One of the oldest is the Mars Society. They promote a NASA program to accomplish human exploration of Mars and have set up Mars analog research stations in Canada and the United States. Also are MarsDrive, which is dedicated to private initiatives for the exploration and settlement of Mars, and, Mars to Stay, which advocates recycling emergency return vehicles into permanent settlements as soon as initial explorers determine permanent habitation is possible. An initiative that went public in June 2012 is Mars One. Its aim is to establish a fully operational permanent human colony on Mars by 2023.
Watch the video The Asteroid that Flattened Mars
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Saturday, August 04, 2012