• Mars is the fourth planet from the sun.• Mars is the seventh largest planet in our solar system.• Mars is referred to as the Red Planet, due to its red soil made up of iron oxide, more commonly known as rust.• Mars is named after the Roman god of war.• The equatorial radius of Mars is 3,397 km.• The diameter of Mars measures 6,794 km.• The mass of Mars is 641,850,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg.• Surface temperature on Mars can range from the maximum of 310 K to a minimum of 150 K.• Atmospheric components on Mars consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon• Average Surface Temperature:-53º C• Average Distance from Sun:2.279 x 108 km• Average Density:3934 kg/m3
• Recently, scientists discovered enough water ice just under the surface of Mars tofill lake Michigan twice.• Due to its dry and dusty surface, dust storms have been known to cover the whole planet at times.• Mars is home to Olympus Mons, perhaps one of the largest volcanoes in our solar system. Olympus Mons is three times taller than Mount Everest and as wide as the state of New Mexico.• Valles Marineris is a canyon on Mars that is about as long as the United States of America is wide.
•Mars is further away from the sun than Earth. Mars’ average distance from the sunis142 million miles while Earth’s average distance from the sun is only 93 millionmiles.•Mars is slower to orbit the sun, traveling at a speed of 14.5 miles per second versusEarth’s 18.5 miles per second.•The temperature on Mars is much colder than Earth. The average Mars temperatureis –87 degrees F with Earth’s average temperature being 57 degrees F.•A year on Mars (i.e. how long it takes for Mars to orbit around the sun) is 687Earth days, versus Earth’s 365 days per year while a day on Mars is equivalent to1.026 Earth days.
The Mars Global Surveyor photographed a dust-devil on the surface. A dust-devil is like amini-tornado without the associated storm patterns.
The Mars Pathfinder took this photograph of a Martian sunset. Even though the atmosphere is thin,refraction of light and reflective atmospheric particles are still present enough to give the sunset a nice color.The red an blue colors would not be present if Mars had no atmosphere.
The image above shows Olympus Mons in comparison to the Hawaiian Islands (in red). This volcano isthe largest in the Solar System.This type of volcano is called a shield volcano and forms not by tectonics but by upward pressure fromthe mantle. Because plate tectonics is absent from Mars, these volcanoes are free to grow to verylarge diameters.
The above Hubble image demonstrates a dust storm on a globalscale. These storms can last several months.
Polar Caps - Spring Polar Caps - Summer Polar Caps - WinterThe seasons on Mars are similar to that onEarth in that there is a defined spring, summer, autumn, andwinter. This is evident by the changing appearance of the polar caps (above)..The carbon dioxide is transferred to the atmosphere during seasonal changes. Just like Earth, there is aNorthern Polar Cap and a Southern Polar Cap.The Northern Polar Cap is mostly water with carbon dioxide on the outer rims.The Southern Polar Cap is mostly carbon dioxide with water underneath.