Mars is dry, rocky, and bitter cold. The fourth planet from the Sun, Mars is one of Earth’s two closest planetary neighbors. Mars is one of the easiest planets to spot in the night sky – it looks like a bright red point of light. Mars is larger than only Mercury. The name of mars means in english is the Roman god of war and is often referred to as the “Red Planet”. Other civilizations also named the planet for this attribute – for example, the Egyptians called it “Her Desher,” meaning “the red one.” Even today, it is frequently called the “Red Planet” because iron minerals in the Martian dirt oxidize, or rust, causing the surface to look red.
Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano and highest known mountain on any planet in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons in the Solar System.
Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped. These may be captured asteroids, similar to 5261 Eureka, a Mars trojan.
669.6 sols | 687 Earth days
2,106 miles | 3,390 kilometers
Phobos and Deimons
Is it Potential for Life?
Scientists don’t expect to find living things currently thriving on Mars. They’re looking for signs of life that existed long ago, when Mars was warmer and covered with water.
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Mars is approximately half the diameter of Earth, with a surface area only slightly less than the total area of Earth’s dry land. It is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth’s volume and 11% of Earth’s mass, resulting in about 38% of Earth’s surface gravity.
Mars is seismically active this is confirmed. With Insight data, recording over 450 Marsquakes in 2019. Latest in 2021 Insight lander confirm 11 low-frequency Marsquakes. About Mars core, it is the more than half of Mars radius and half the size of earth’s core. Martian core contains lighter elements such as hydrogen and oxygen in addition alloy of iron-nickel and about 15% of sulphur.
Mars surface consists of oxygen, silicon, metals and other elements that typically make up a rock. It’s surface primarily composed of basalt although parts are more silica rich than typical basalt and may be similar to andesitic rocks on Earth or silica glass.
Mars has no evidence of a structural global magnetic field, observations show that parts of the planet’s crust have been magnetised.
The geological history of Mars can be split into many periods but the following are the three primary periods.
- Noachian period – Formation of the oldest extant surfaces of Mars, 4.5 to 3.5 billion years ago.
- Hesperian period – 3.5 to between 3.3 and 2.9 billion years ago. Hallmark is the formation of extensive lava plains.
- Amazonian period – between 3.3 and 2.9 billion years ago to the present. Olympus Mons formed during this period, with lava flows elsewhere on Mars.
Water on Mars
Due to low atmospheric pressure which is lower than 1% that of earth, liquid water cannot be exist on Mars surface, except at the lowest elevation for short periods. Large amount of water is present in the form of ice at two poles that is South and North.
The volume of water ice in South Pole is too large. If it is melted then it would cover entire surface of the planet with height of 11 meters.
How far is Mars from the Sun?
Mars has a eccentric orbit. At it’s farthest distance means Aphelion, Mars is 249 million km from the sun. At it’s closest means Perihelion. Mars is 206 million km distant. On an average the distance to Mars from the sun is 229 milllion km.
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Orbit and Rotation
As Mars orbits the Sun, it completes one rotation every 24.6 hours. Which is very similar to one day on Earth (23.9 hours). Martian days are called sols – short for “solar day.” A year on Mars lasts 669.6 sols, which is the same as 687 Earth days.
With respect to the plane of Mars orbit around the Sun, Mars’ axis of rotation is tilted 25 degrees. This is another similarity with Earth, which has an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees. Like Earth, Mars has distinct seasons, but they last longer than seasons here on Earth since Mars takes longer to orbit the Sun (because it’s farther away). And while here on Earth the seasons are evenly spread over the year, lasting 3 months (or one quarter of a year). On Mars the seasons vary in length because of Mars’ elliptical, egg-shaped orbit around the Sun.
Spring in the northern hemisphere (autumn in the southern) is the longest season at 194 sols. Autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in the southern) is the shortest at 142 days. Northern winter/southern summer is 154 sols, and northern summer/southern winter is 178 sols.
Formation of Mars
When the solar system settled into its current layout about 4.5 billion years ago. Mars formed when gravity pulled swirling gas and dust in to become the fourth planet from the Sun. Mars is about half the size of Earth, and like its fellow terrestrial planets, it has a central core, a rocky mantle, and a solid crust.
Mars has a thin atmosphere made up chiefly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon feasts. To our eyes, the sky would be hazy and red because of suspended dust rather of the familiar blue shade we see on Earth. Mars’ scanty atmosphere does not offer major protection from impacts by similar objects as meteorites, asteroids, and comets.
The temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). or as low as about-225 degrees Fahrenheit (-153 degrees Celsius). And because the atmosphere is so thin, heat from the Sun lightly escapes this planet. However, it would feel like spring at your bottoms (75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius) and downtime at your head (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius), If you were to stand on the shell of Mars on the ambit at noon.
Sometimes, winds on Mars are strong enough to produce dust storms that cover important of the earth. After alike storms, it can be months ahead all of the dust settles.