is red because of rust in the surface rocks.
volcano on Mars called Olympus Mons is the highest mountain in our Solar System.
- Mars has polar ice
caps just like Earth.
has ancient river beds where scientists think liquid water flowed millions or
billions of years ago
big is the planet?
of the size of Mars and the Earth
is 6,804.9 km or 0.533 Earths in diameter. That makes it a little more than half
of Earth's diameter, so its volume is around 15% of the Earth's volume.
planet from the Sun Rather eccentric orbit.
-Average distance from the Sun
is 142 million miles Perihelion distance 128.6 million miles, aphelion distance
160 million miles.
-Takes 687 days to orbit the Sun.
-Distance from Earth
varies from 36 million miles (nearest planet after Venus) to over 250 million
-Rotates in 24-1/2 hours.
is its surface like?
from the Mars Rover "Spirit"
surface of Mars is dry and dusty. The highlands of the southern hemisphere
have more craters than the lower areas in the northern hemisphere. One of the
craters is the huge Hellas Planitia. It is 2100 km across.
is an area called the Tharsis Bulge that has four huge volcanoes. These
volcanoes have not erupted for millions of years. The largest one is Olympus
Mons. It is 27 km tall, making it the highest mountain in the Solar System
and much higher than Mount Everest on Earth. It is 540 km across, making it too
big to see the whole thing from the surface of Mars.
has a huge canyon called Valles Marineris that is much bigger than
the Grand Canyon on Earth. It is 4000 km long, up to 7 km deep and up to 200 km
wide. It is thought that Valles Marineris was made when the surface cracked
when the Tharsis Bulge formed.
are also two ice caps at the poles. They are made of carbon dioxide and
water ices. The northern one is large and the southern one is small.
some places, there are channels that look like they were made by water
erosion. Mars may have once been a wet planet like Earth.
you got in a spaceship and landed on the surface of Mars, you would notice that
there is air and an atmosphere, but it is very thin. When you are standing at
the bottom of Valles Marineris, there is almost the same air pressure as you would
find on the top of the tallest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest. Even then, you
would not want to breathe it because it has very little oxygen, and much more
carbon dioxide than on the Earth. Carbon dioxide is the gas that you send out
from your lungs when you are breathing. Even with these problems, someday people
will travel to Mars and walk on its surface.
are its moons like?
is believed that these moons did not originally orbit Mars, but were instead a
part of the Asteroid belt. When these pieces of
the Solar System came close to Mars, they were captured by the gravity of Mars
and went into relatively stable orbits around Mars. Like the Earth's moon, these
moons are in a tidal lock, always keeping the same face towards Mars while
they are in orbit.
has two natural satellites:
Roman mythology both Phobos and Deimos were the sons of the Roman god Mars. Phobos
means "fear" or "fright". Phobos also orbits closer to Mars than any other moon
to any other major planet in the Solar System. In a few million years Phobos will
eventually crash into the surface of Mars due to orbital decay, where it
goes closer to the surface of Mars every year.
means "panic" or "dread" as the son of Mars. Deimos is one of the smallest moons
of any planet in the Solar System currently known.
long is a day on this planet?
day on Mars is only a little longer than an Earth day at 1.025 Earth days. A year
is 1 Earth year and 322 Earth days long.
is it made of?
is thought that Mars has an iron core with some sulfur and a mantle
and crust made of silicate.
much would Mars's gravity pull on me?
you were on Mars, it would pull you down with a force about two fifths as strong
as the force of Earth's gravity. You could lift objects that weigh almost three
times as much compared to similar objects here on the Earth. You could jump up
almost three times higher, and it would take much longer to fall to the ground
from the same height.
though it looks as though you would be like a comic-book hero on Mars, you would
still have to worry about the mass of an object. A large object that is moving
forward would still crush you if you got in its way, just like it would be a problem
here on the Earth, and a bullet from a gun would do just as much damage on Mars
as it does on the Earth. A vehicle that travels on the surface of Mars would have
the same problems trying to stop as it would on the Earth, but an interesting
problem would be that because of the reduced gravity a vehicle would not "grip"
the ground on Mars as strongly, making it harder to stop if you are traveling
at a high speed