Mars is also known as Red planet. Mars is seen in orange and red color in the sky. Due to this color, the ancient Greeks and Romans also named this planet as the red planet. In today’s age, with the help of spacecraft, we know that the red color of Mars is due to iron oxide on its surface. Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system and the fourth planet from the Sun.
Why Mars is called Red Planet?
Mars is also called the red planet. Actually this color is due to iron oxide on the surface. The rocks above the surface of Mars are rich in iron oxides. And due to this iron oxide, the surface of Mars is seen in red color.
Mars is the fourth planet of the solar system. Mars looks very different because of its red appearance and two unusual moons.
How is Mars different from Earth?
The atmosphere of Mars is cold and the air is very thin, which makes it very unlikely that liquid water exists there. Slopes on the surface of Mars indicate the possibility of liquid, but this evidence is controversial.
Located within the solar system, the red planet is a mixture of both the highest mountains and the deepest valleys. Olympus Mons is a 17 mile high mountain that is approximately three times taller than Mount Everest. While the Valles marineris is a very deep canyon that is about six miles deep.
The largest volcano in the solar system is also located on Mars. Olympus Mons is one of them. This giant volcano spans 370 miles in diameter, about the size of the state of New Mexico. Small volcanic eruptions continue to occur on Mars today.
The planet Mars has two moons named Phobos and Deimos. These moons of Mars were discovered in 1877 by American astronomer Asaph Hall. Both Phobos and Deimos are composed of carbon-rich rocks and ice mixed with dust. Both of them are about the same size as Earth’s moon. But their shape is irregular. Phobos is about 17 miles wide while Deimos is about 9 miles wide.
The moon Phobos is slowly being pulled towards Mars. The moon Phobos is pulled toward Mars by about six feet every hundred years. Within the next 50 million years it will either collide with Mars or break up into smaller fragments and start orbiting Mars in a ring.
MARS QUICK FACTS : SIZE, COMPOSITION & STRUCTURE
- The diameter of Mars is 4,220 miles which is far smaller than our Earth, which is 7,926 miles wide.
- Gravity on Mars is just 38% as compared to our Earth. (A 100 pound person on Earth would weight just 38 pounds on Mars)
- The atmosphere of Mars is composed of 95.32% carbon dioxide, 2.7% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, 0.08% carbon monoxide.
- The Oxygen on Mars is only 0.13%
- Mars lost its magnetic field about 4 billion year ago. But still there are some parts of the planet that are 10 times more strongly magnetized than Earth.
- Mars is much colder than Earth. The average temperature on mars is about -80° Fahrenheit or -60° Celsius. But in winter the temperature goes down to -125° Celsius.
- Mars takes 687 days to complete its orbit around the Sun. That is, it takes 687 days to complete 1 year on Mars. While it takes 365 days on earth.
- Mars takes 24 hours and 40 minutes to complete one rotation on its axis which is almost similar to our Earth, takes 24 hours.
- Galileo Galilei was the first person who discovered Mars with a telescope in 1610.
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