59 Interesting Facts About Mars

Last updated on September 10th, 2017

Our Solar system is vast and consists of many planets, moons, comets, asteroids, minor planets; and dust and gas. The main idea of our solar system was proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and he also proposed that the Sun is at the center of the universe while the planets revolved around it in circular orbits.

Let us uncover some important facts and information about planet Mars where human life can be expected to dwell in the coming years.

#1. Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system after mercury. And it is the fourth planet from the sun.

“Sunsets on Mars are blue.”

#2. Mars is also referred to as the “Red Planet” because it has high content of iron oxide which makes it appear reddish.

#3. Mars has a thin atmosphere.

#4. Mars has only two moons as compared to Uranus’ twenty seven. They are named: Phobos and Deimos. These moons are small and are irregularly shaped. (learn facts and information about Uranus)

#5. The composition of the core of Mars is not yet known to scientists and the exploration work is going on. It is not certain as of now if the planet’s core is solid, liquid or is built of two different layers. The maximum pressure of Mar’s core is expected to be 400,000 times the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere at sea level.

#6. Density: If we compare the density of Mars with that of the Earth’s, we would find that it is 100 times less dense than Earth.

#7. Mars has low atmospheric pressure on its surface which is the reason why liquid water cannot exist on its surface for long.

#8. Mars takes twice the time Earth takes to complete a full revolution around the sun.

#9. Did you know that the giant Jupiter has the ability to influence the orbit of Mars? Due to its immense mass, Jupiter brings some change in Mars’ orbit.

#10. The orbit of Mars and Earth are also not in the same plane. There is a tilt of a few degrees between the orbits of the two neighboring planets.

“Olympus Mons — the tallest mountain in the solar system — is on Mars.”

#11. “Opposition” is a situation when a planet and the Sun are on directly opposite sides of earth. In Mars opposition, Mars and the Sun are on directly opposite sides of the Earth. Also learn the fact that the 2003 Opposition was the closest approach in almost 60,000 years! And as per calculations, this record will be broken in the year 2287.

Mars near Earth in 2003
Photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003, the red planet 11 hours before its closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years. Image credit – NASA

#12. Mars has sufficient ice on its polar regions, which can be seen clearly in the image below. If the ice on its south pole melts, the resulting water will be sufficient to cover the planet’s entire surface to a depth of 11 meters. Mars, in addition to Earth, is the only other planet that has polar ice caps. It’s Northern cap is called – Planum Boreum, and Southern cap is called – Planum Australe.

#13. Solar Conjunction is the term used to describe the coming of Sun between the Earth and the Mars. When this happens, the communication between spacecraft on Mars, and the Earth drastically reduces.

#14. Did you know that the ancient Babylonians first created the week and divided it into seven days? They named each day of the week upon the seven known bodies in the sky: the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. Hence, Tuesday is the day of Mars. Because of the red color of the planet, Mars is also associated with aggression.

#15. The name of the month March also derives from Mars.

#16. Mars is being explored for over four decades now because it is considered as a favorable place for human existence. And the signs of water on the planet has supported the belief that human life can exist on this red planet.

#17. First interaction with Mars: Mariner 4, in 1965 was the first aircraft that flied by Mars. It took the spacecraft a whopping 228 days to reach the planet.

#18. Many Hollywood films have been produced with Mars as their subject including: Flight to Mars – 1951, The Angry Red Planet – 1959 and the famous John Carter – 2012. See the full list here.

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