14 Interesting Facts about Planet Mars
- Mars is also called the “Red Planet.” It is the second smallest planet and fourth planet to the sun in our solar system. It has an average distance of 227,936,640 km from the sun.
- Mars has an orbital period of 687 earth days.
- It got its name after the Roman god of war. It is called the “Red Planet” because it looks orange–red in colour due to the iron oxide present on its surface.
- Of all the planets in the solar system, Mars is the one that people believe is most likely to contain or to have contained life.
- Mars has a thin atmosphere. The rotational period and seasonal cycle of Mars is similar to that of the Earth. Like the earth, its tilt causes seasons.
- The largest volcano in the solar system is on Mars. It is called Olympus Mons. It is the tallest mountain in the solar system too-it rises 27 kilometers above the surrounding plains.
- Mars has the longest, deepest canyon in the solar system- the Valles Marineris canyon. It stretches 4,000 km along the equator of Mars, and can be as deep as 7 km in places.
- Mars has polar caps like Earth, although Mars’ polar caps contain mostly frozen carbon dioxide instead of frozen water.
- The sun appears about half the size on Mars as it does from Earth.
- The first space probe to take pictures of Mars’ surface was Mariner 4 in 1964.
- Mars is the most studied planet of the solar system. There are three spacecraft down on the surface of Mars, NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers, as well as the Phoenix Mars lander. And there are three orbiters watching from orbit: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey and ESA’s Mars Express.
- Rocks from Mars have landed on Earth, from meteorite impacts blasting debris through space. These also help scientists in studying Mars.
- In the future, there could be airplanes and balloons, subsurface explorers, and maybe even sample return missions, to bring a little piece of Mars back to Earth. One day, humans will finally step foot on the Red Planet. Maybe even within our lifetime.
- On September 28, 2015, NASA announced that they had found conclusive evidence of hydrated brine flows on recurring slope lineae, based on spectrometer readings of the darkened areas of slopes.