Most interesting facts about Mars

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Most interesting facts about Mars

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury.

In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war and is often referred to as the "Red Planet" because the reddish iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. Mars can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye, as can it's reddish coloring. There are ongoing investigations assessing the past habitability potential of Mars, as well as the possibility of extant life.

In November 2016, NASA reported finding a large amount of underground ice in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars. The volume of water detected has been estimated to be equivalent to the volume of water in Lake Superior.

Future astrobiology missions are planned, including the Mars 2020 and ExoMars rovers.

Mars is a constant point of discussion for space explorers around the world.

There also have some more interesting facts about Mars that you probably would’ve never guessed.

So, let's explore it -

 

  • Mars and Earth have approximately the same landmass. Even though Mars has only 15% of the Earth’s volume and just over 10% of the Earth’s mass, around two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Martian surface gravity is only 37% of the Earth’s.

  • Mars is home to the tallest mountain in the solar system. Olympus Mons, a shield volcano, is 21km high and 600km in diameter. Despite having formed over billions of years, evidence from volcanic lava flows is so recent many scientists believe it could still be active.

  • Mars Missions Since the first spacecraft was sent to Mars was launched in 1960, there have been at least 68 missions that have been launched. Only 18 missions to Mars have been successful.

  • First interaction with Mars: Mariner 4, in 1965 was the first aircraft that flew by Mars. It took the spacecraft a whopping 228 days to reach the planet.

  • As of September 2014, there have been 40 missions to Mars, including orbiters, landers, and rovers but not counting flybys. The most recent arrivals include the Mars Curiosity mission in 2012, the MAVEN mission, which arrived on September 22, 2014, followed by the Indian Space Research Organization’s MOM Mangalyaan orbiter, which arrived on September 24, 2014.

  • Mars has the largest dust storms in the solar system. They can last for months and cover the entire planet. The seasons are extreme because its elliptical (oval-shaped) orbital path around the Sun is more elongated than most other planets in the solar system.

  • On Mars, the Sun appears about half the size as it does on Earth.

  • Pieces of Mars have fallen to Earth. Scientists have found tiny traces of Martian atmosphere within meteorites violently ejected from Mars, then orbiting the solar system amongst galactic debris for millions of years, before crash landing on Earth. This allowed scientists to begin studying Mars prior to launching space missions.

  • Mars takes its name from the Roman god of war. The ancient Greeks called the planet Ares, after their god of war; the Romans than did likewise, associating the planet’s blood-red color with Mars, their own god of war.

  • The red color Mars is known for is due to the rock and dust covering its surface being rich in iron.

  • There are signs of liquid water on Mars. For years Mars has been known to have water in the form of ice. The first signs of trickling water are dark stripes or stains on crater wall and cliffs seen in satellite images. Due to Mars’ atmosphere, this water would have to be salty to prevent it from freezing or vaporizing.

  • Mars Panorama A 360 degree panorama of the Martian landscape combined from 817 photos taken the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been released by NASA.

  • Mars was once believed to be home to intelligent life. This came from the discovery of lines or grooves in the surface called Canali by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli. He believed that these were not naturally occurring and were proof of intelligent life. However, these were later shown to be an optical illusion.

  • Mars experiences huge dust storms – the largest in our solar system. This is due to the elliptical shape of the planet’s orbit path around the Sun. The orbit path is more elongated than many of the other planets and this oval-shaped orbit results in fierce dust storms that cover the entire planet and can last for many months.

  • Martians, also known as extraterrestrials from Mars, are a common character in science fiction books and movies. This makes Mars one of the most popular and talked about planets in the solar system.

  • Mars has seasons like Earth, but they last twice as long. This is because Mars is tilted on its axis by about 25.19 degrees, which is similar to the axial tilt of the Earth (22.5 degrees).

  • Mars does not have a magnetic field – although there are some scientists that believe it did have a magnetic field somewhere around 4 billion years ago.

  • If we compare the density of Mars with that of the Earth’s, we would find that it is 100 times less dense than Earth.

  • Solar Conjunction is the term used to describe the coming of Sun between the Earth and Mars. When this happens, the communication between spacecraft on Mars, and the Earth drastically reduces.

  • The name of the month March also derives from Mars.

  • A day on Mars is 24 hours and 37 minutes –– only a little bit longer than a day on our own planet. A year on Mars, however, is almost twice as long, lasting 687 Earth days! This is because it takes a lot longer than Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun.

  • Until recently, scientists believed that there was no liquid water on the surface of Mars – only rocks, soil dust, and ice. But… News flash! In 2018, they found evidence of a lake under the planet’s south polar ice cap.

  • Galileo Galilei was the first scientist who discovered Mars.

  • Mars’s core is surrounded by a silicate mantle.

  • The surface temperature of Mars -153 to 20 °C

  • It would cost nearly US$18,000 to post a letter to Mars.

  • Mars’s soil is mainly fertile for growing asparagus.

  • Mars consists exclusively of carbon dioxide.

  • The Sunset is blue On Mars.



Stock photo from Dotted Yeti