Mars is undeniably our most famous celestial object. The red planet is a constant center of attention for both scientists and space enthusiasts. A major reason this is so is because of the planet’s striking similarities with Earth. While we’ve sent a lot of robots to Mars to learn more, someday, humans too will set foot on the red planet.
Recent technological advancements have gathered more information about this mysterious world. From its unique geological features to the possibility of past or present life, Mars has a lot to offer. In this article, we will explore some fascinating facts about Mars, including its unique atmosphere, its history of water, and the ongoing efforts to explore and colonize the planet. So please sit back, relax, and get ready to learn about the interesting facts about Mars – the fourth planet from the sun.
What is Mars?
Mars, the fourth planet from the sun in our solar system, is referred to as the “Red Planet” due to its appearance. It is a terrestrial planet with a solid surface similar to Earth. Mars has a thin atmosphere made mostly of carbon dioxide and a surface covered with dust and ice.
Mars is a popular target for exploration due to its proximity to Earth and the mere possibility that it may have once had liquid water on its surface, a key ingredient for life as we know it. NASA has sent multiple missions to Mars, including the Viking mission in the 1970s, the Mars Exploration Rover mission in the 2000s, and the Mars Science Laboratory mission in 2012. The Mars 2020 mission will launch in July 2020 and include the Perseverance rover, which will search for signs of the past life of microbial and collect samples for a future return mission.
In addition to these missions, other space agencies and private companies are also planning future missions to Mars. These include the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission and SpaceX’s plans to send humans to Mars shortly. The exploration of Mars is ongoing and continues to provide valuable information about the planet’s geology, atmosphere, and potential for past or present life.
15 Interesting Facts About Mars One Should Know
1. Size of Mars
It is approximately half the size of Earth, with a diameter of 6,792 kilometers (4,220 miles) and a total surface area of about 144 million square kilometers (55.5 million square miles). This makes Mars the second most minor planet in our solar system, after Mercury.
Mars is much more prominent than the Earth’s Moon as the Moon has a total diameter of 3,475 kilometers (2,159 miles) and a surface area of about 37.9 million square kilometers (14.6 million square miles). This means that Mars is about 1.9 times larger than the Moon in terms of diameter and 3.8 times more prominent in surface area. This is fairly among the most interesting facts about mars, to be honest.
2. The Land Area of Mars
Earth and Mars are terrestrial planets, meaning they are made mostly of rock and metal. Both planets also have a similar land area, with Earth’s total land area being approximately 148.94 million square kilometers and Mars’ total land area being approximately 144.8 million square kilometers. While Earth and Mars may have a similar land area, the two planets have vastly different environments and conditions.
3. The Mass (Amount of Matter) of Mars
One of the other interesting facts about Mars is its mass. The masses of both earth and of Mars are also different. Earth has a mass of approximately 5962 Sextillion kg, i.e., 5.9722 x 1024 kg, while Mars has a mass of approximately 642 Sextillion kg, i.e., 6.4169 x 1023 kg. This means that Earth is about nine times more massive than Mars. This difference in mass is because Earth is a giant planet with a denser composition, with a more significant proportion of heavy elements such as iron and nickel.
4. Volume of Mars
The volume of Earth is approximately 260 Billion mi3, and the volume of mars is approximately 39 Billion mi3. This makes Earth the third densest planet in the solar system, after Mercury and Mars.
Because of its rotation, Earth is slightly squashed at the poles & bulges at the equator, so its size and shape determine its volume. The mass of Earth is determined by the amount of matter present in it, which is made up of a variety of elements, including oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, and others.
Earth’s mass and volume are closely related; the more matter in an object, its volume will be greater. This is why Earth, the fifth-largest planet in the solar system, is also one of the densest.
5. Average Density of Mars
Amongst one of the many interesting facts about Mars is its density. The density of Earth is approximately 5.5 grams per cubic centimeter (5.5 g/cm3). This is due to the planet’s composition of mostly iron and rock.
On the other hand, the density of Mars is approximately 3.9 grams per cubic centimeter (3.9 g/cm3). Mars is composed mainly of iron and rock but is less dense than Earth. Combined with its smaller size, this yields a much smaller field of gravity for Mars. In other words, it’s possible to jump a lot higher!
6. Structure of Earth and Mars
The structure of Earth and Mars are similar in some ways but also have significant differences. Both planets have a core, a mantle, and a crust.
Earth’s core is divided into two layers: the inner and outer cores. The inner core is solid and composed chiefly of iron and nickel, while the outer core is liquid and mostly iron and nickel. The core is surrounded by the mantle, primarily solid rock, such as silicon, oxygen, and magnesium. The crust is the very outermost layer of the Earth and is composed mainly of rock and minerals, such as granite and basalt.
Mars’s core is divided into two layers but is much smaller than Earth’s core. The inner core is thought to be mostly made of iron and nickel, while the outer core is thought to be primarily liquid or partially molten. The mantle of Mars is also made mostly of rock, such as basalt and andesite. The crust of Mars is also composed primarily of rock and minerals, but it is much thinner than Earth’s crust.
One of the main differences between the structure of Earth and Mars is that Mars does not have a large, active magnetic field as Earth does. This is likely because Mars’ core is not large enough or hot enough to generate the convective motions necessary to create a magnetic field. Additionally, Mars lacks plate tectonics, which is the movement of the Earth’s lithosphere (the Earth’s crust and uppermost part of the mantle) due to convection currents.
Overall, while Earth and Mars have some structural similarities, such as having a core, mantle, and crust, their core’s composition, size, activity, and the presence of plate tectonics and magnetic field differ significantly. Top of Form
7. Distance of Mars from the Sun and Earth
The average distance from the orbit path of Earth to the sun is about 142 million kilometers (93 million miles). This is known as an astronomical unit (AU). The average distance from the orbit path of Mars to the sun is about 229 million kilometers (142 million miles) or about 1.52 AU.
The distance of Mars from Earth varies depending on the location of the two planets in their orbits. Still, it ranges from about 54.6 million kilometers (34 million miles) to about 401 million kilometers (249 million miles). This distance also plays a role in the journey of any spacecraft sent to Mars as it takes more time and fuel to travel the longer distance.
8. Speed (Velocity relative to the sun)
Their orbital motion determines the speed or velocity of Earth and Mars relative to the sun. Both planets orbit the sun in elliptical orbits, meaning their distance from it changes as they orbit. Earth’s orbital speed is about 107,218 km per hour, and it completes an orbit around the sun in about 365.25 days. This speed allows Earth to maintain a relatively stable temperature and climate, which supports life.
On the other hand, Mars orbits the sun at a speed of about 86,676 Km per hour and completes an orbit in about 687 Earth days. Mars’ orbit is also more elliptical than Earth’s, meaning it is farther from the sun at some points, contributing to its colder and drier climate. In short, Mars and Earth orbit around the sun at different speeds. Earth’s orbit is faster than Mars’ orbit and completes one orbit around the sun faster. Top of FormBottom of Form
9. A Year on Mars
Earth’s year, also known as its orbital period, is 365 days. This is the time it takes for Earth to orbit once around the sun. Mars’ year, or orbital period, is 687 Earth days. This means that one year on Mars is equivalent to 1.88 Earth years.
It’s worth mentioning that Mars has a slightly longer day than Earth, 24 hours and 39 minutes, and 37 seconds.
10. Length of a Day on Mars
The length of a day, also known as a “sol,” on Earth is approximately 24 hours (23:56 sidereal). This is determined by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. On Mars, a sol is slightly longer, with a length of approximately 24.6 hours (24:37 sidereal). This is due to the planet’s slightly slower rotation on its axis.
The tilt of Earth is approximately 23.5 degrees, while the tilt of Mars is approximately 25 degrees. The tilt of a planet is significant because it determines the amount of sunlight that reaches different areas of the planet and causes the seasons. On Earth, the tilt causes the seasons to change, with summer in the northern hemisphere when the Earth is somewhat tilted towards the sun and winter when it is tilted away. Similarly, Mars also experiences seasons, but they are more extreme because its orbit is more elongated than Earth’s.
Due to the tilt of Mars, its polar ice caps are also able to grow and shrink depending on the season. The northern hemisphere experiences summer when the sun shines directly on it, and the southern hemisphere experiences winter. The opposite happens during the opposite season. This also causes dust storms which are more frequent during the global warming season.
In summary, the tilt of both Earth and Mars plays a crucial role in determining the seasons on each planet, with Earth’s tilt being slightly less than that of Mars, which causes more extreme seasons.
12. Atmosphere of Mars
The Earth’s atmosphere comprises 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gasses such as argon, carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of water vapor, methane, and ozone. The atmosphere also contains small amounts of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. The atmosphere works to protect life on Earth by absorbing all the harmful ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun and also helps to regulate temperature and weather.
The atmosphere of Mars is primarily composed of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.9% argon, 1.9% nitrogen, and 1% trace amounts of oxygen, water vapor, and methane. Unlike Earth, the planet Mars has no protective ozone layer, and its thin atmosphere cannot effectively protect the planet from harmful radiation from the sun. The Martian atmosphere also has a much lower pressure than Earth’s, with a surface pressure of only about 1% of Earth’s. This results in a frigid climate, with temperatures averaging around -80 degrees Fahrenheit (-62 degrees Celsius) at the poles and around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) at the equator.
13. Temperature of Mars
The average temperature on Earth is around 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius), with a high range of around 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) and a low range of around -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius). These temperatures vary depending on the location and can change significantly depending on the season and weather patterns.
The average temperature on Mars is around -80 degrees Fahrenheit (-62 degrees Celsius) at the poles and around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) at the equator. The high range of temperature on Mars is around 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius), and a low range of around -208 degrees Fahrenheit (-133 degrees Celsius). The temperatures on Mars can vary greatly depending on the location and can change significantly depending on the season and weather patterns. The Martian atmosphere is too thin to retain enough heat from the sun to maintain a warm temperature; therefore, the planet is much colder than Earth. This sure is one of the other interesting facts about Mars.
14. How Much Would you Weigh on Mars?
The weight of matter on Earth is affected by its gravity, whose force is approximately 9.8 meters per second squared. This means an object of mass 1kg weighs approximately 9.8 kg more on Earth
The weight of matter on Mars is less than that of Earth due to Mars’ weaker gravitational pull. A 100 kg object would weigh about 38 kg on Mars. The gravity on Mars is about 3.711 m/s², about one-third of Earth’s gravity. This means that an object weighs approximately 3.7 times less on Mars than it would weigh on Earth.
It’s important to note that an object’s weight and gravity do not change its mass, which measures the amount of matter that an object contains and remains constant regardless of the gravitational force.
15. Gravitational Acceleration
The gravity on Earth is approximately 9.8 meters per second squared, which allows objects to fall to the ground and keeps people and other things on the planet’s surface. The gravity on Mars is about 3.711 m/s², about one-third of Earth’s gravity. This means that an object weighs approximately 62.5% times less on Mars than it would weigh on Earth.
NASA has put together an infographic that combines many interesting facts about Mars into one place. Check it out:
In conclusion, Mars is a fascinating planet with many unique features. It has the largest volcano and canyon in the solar system and evidence of liquid water on its surface. Its reddish appearance is due to its surface’s iron oxide and fragile atmosphere. These were the interesting facts about mars. Moreover, the planet has a history of meteorite impacts and dust storms. NASA and other space agencies continue to study Mars to learn more about its history and potential for supporting life.