Top 10 Amazing Facts About Mars
Amazing Facts About Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often referred to as the “Red Planet” because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. Here The Top 10 Amazing Facts About Mars.
10. Mars: Earth’s cousin
Bearing a similar tilt to Earth – Mars has a 25° tilt while our planet has a 23.5° tilt – Mars also experiences the same four seasons, though they are more extreme.
9. A valley the size of North America
An enormous system of canyons, the Valles Marineris stretches 2,600 miles (4,200 km) across the Martian surface and is up to 4.3 miles (7 km) deep. Placing it on Earth and into context, the Valles Marineris would span from New York to San Francisco and then some.
8. Mars’ rotation around the sun
A Martian year is significantly longer than an Earth year (the time it takes to make one rotation of the sun). On Earth, we have 365 days whereas Mars has 687 days.
7. Martian day
The Martian day is also longer, but only slightly. One Earth day is 23 hours and 56 minutes while one Martian day is 24 hours and 40 minutes. When we do land on Mars, it will be an easier transition than if we went to Jupiter (10 hour day) or Venus (2,802 hour day).
6. Tallest mountain in the solar system
The tallest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons, is a shield volcano, similar to those in Hawaii and many Pacific islands. It stands at 13.2 miles (21 km) above sea level on the Martian surface. Three times taller than Mount Everest, Olympus Mons’ surface area is the same as the entire U.S. state of Arizona.
5. Water on Mars
Astronomers have known for years that water exists on Mars, locked up in its polar ice caps. However, they’ve recently found dark streaks on the planet which would indicate flowing water. Mars’ temperatures (#16) would mean the water would have to be incredibly salty to keep it in liquid form.
4. Phobos, the larger Martian moon
Phobos, the larger of the two Martian moons, orbits the planet so quickly it would set twice (in the East) and rise once (in the west) every day.
3. Is there life on Mars?
The most well-known supporting evidence for life on Mars refers to NASA experiments in 1996 on Martian rocks which landed on Earth. Inside, the scientists found complex organic molecules and fossilized structures which resemble microbes we are familiar with. Though these findings remain controversial, scientists today generally believe life did exist at some point on Mars (and may even still exist today).
2. Mars’ moon on a destruction path
Human settlements on Mars could be threatened by Mars’ moon Phobos – thankfully not for tens of millions of years though. Each orbit, Phobos is drawn closer to Mars by the planet’s gravity. (It spirals inward at 6 feet (1.8 m) every 100 years.) Many millennia in the future, the moon will likely crash into Mars or break up above the planet’s surface, creating a ring.
1. First humans on Mars
In a 2010 speech at Kennedy Space Center, U.S. President Barack Obama called for the Americans to land a manned mission to Mars by the mid-2030’s, making it the most ambitious Mars exploration plan by any country on record.