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Mars Facts for Kids

Is Mars a planet?

Mars is the second smallest planet in our Solar System, after Mercury. It is named after the Roman God of war & agriculture Mars, also known as Ares to the Greek.

Mars

Mars

Where is Mars located in our Solar System?

It is the fourth planet from the Sun, situated between Earth and Jupiter.

Mars Distance from Sun

Mars Distance from Sun

Who discovered Mars?

It has been visible in the night sky to unaided eyes since pre-historic times. However, the first telescopic observation was however made by Galileo Galilei in 1609.

How is the atmosphere of Mars?

The planet has a very thin atmosphere which mainly consists of 95% Carbon dioxide, 3% Nitrogen, 1.6% Argon and traces of oxygen and water. This thin atmosphere prevents the planet from trapping heat from the Sun.

What is the surface and composition of Mars?

The planet has a central core made up of Iron, sulfur and nickel, surrounded by a rocky layer like Earth. This is enveloped in a mantle made up of mostly silicates. The surface or the crust predominantly comprises of oxidized iron dust and rocks covering a layer of volcanic basalt rock.

Mars Surface

Mars Surface

What is the color of Mars?

The color of Mars, as appears from Earth, is generally a distinct yellow, orange or red with its brightness varying more than any other planet. The actual color of the planet is like butterscotch, as the pictures from various space probes prove; but, it mostly appears bright Red because of the iron oxide and red dust which is prevalent on the surface as well as its atmosphere. Because of this red hue, it is also known as the Red Planet.

How is the weather on Mars?

Martian weather is very dramatic, varying from day to day, even hour to hour. Temperatures during daytime can be around 20 degrees (same as Earth), falling down to -110 degrees at night. Due to this extreme contrast, dust storms are very common on this planet. As the planet lacks a proper atmosphere or magnetosphere, it does not experience rainfall. However, clouds do form and snow fall also occurs.

How many moons does Mars have?

The red planet has two moons namely Phobos (Fear) and Deimos (Panic) which were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall. It is believed by most scientists that these two moons are actually captured asteroids.

Mars Moon

Mars Moon

What is Olympus Mons?

Olympus Mons is the second tallest mountain in our Solar System, after the central peak of Rheasilvia (impact crater) on the proto-planet Vesta. Olympus Mons – a shielded volcano in the planet’s western hemisphere, spreads over 600 kilometers in diameter at the base with a height of around 21 kilometers.

Is there life on Mars?

Although scientists have found water on the planet in ice form along with traces of vapor in the atmosphere, any trace of life is yet to be found – and in all probabilities will never be. With negligible atmosphere and no magnetic field, harmful space radiations reach the planet all the time. On top of that, the extreme temperatures and stormy weather would make it difficult for living beings to survive.

Water on Mars

Water on Mars

However, it is possible that there might have been some kind of life-form there in the past because of the presence of water, but scientists are yet to find a proof of that.

Interesting Facts

  • Mars was named after the Roman God of war because of its red appearance, which resembled the color of blood.
  • The total mass of the planet is only about 10% of Earth.
Earth and Mars Compare

Earth and Mars Compare

  • Olympus Mons is almost three times as tall as Mount Everest!
  • Valleris Marineris canyon on the planet’s surface is the deepest canyon in our Solar System. It is around 4000 kilometers long, 200 kilometers wide and up to 7 kilometers (23,000 feet) deep.
  • The moons – Phobos and Deimos are named after the horses that dragged the carriage of Mars, the Roman God of war.
  • Although the Red planet has extreme weather conditions, it experiences 4 seasons, just like Earth.
  • Meteorites from Mars have fallen on Earth in the past, helping scientists study more about the planet. So we can technically say we have pieces of Mars on Earth!
  • Dust storms here are the largest in our Solar System and can engulf the planet for weeks or months.
  • Around 43,000 craters have been officially found on the planet’s surface. This refers only to the larger ones.
Craters on Mars

Craters on Mars

  • Many missions have been attempted to the Red planet, but only 1/3rd of them have been successful. Some of the important and currently active space probes sent by NASA are: Curiosity, MAVEN, Mars Odessey and Mars Orbiter.
  • The month March is named after Mars.
Distance from Sun 227.9 million km
Distance from Earth 55.7 million km
Radius 3390 km
Diameter 6780 km
Volume 16.318×1010 km3
Mass 64.174×1022 kg
Density 3,933 km/m3
Surface Area 144.8×106 km2
Circumference 21,344 km
Gravity 3.711 m/s2
Surface Temperature (average) – 60 ͦC
Orbital Period 687 Earth Days

 

Mars Image

Mars Image

Mars Images

Mars Images

Mars Photo

Mars Photo

Mars Photos

Mars Photos

Mars Picture

Mars Picture

Mars Pictures

Mars Pictures

Published by on June 5th 2014. Filed under Space Facts

 

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