We are so close to creating a new home for ourselves in the solar system – scientists are one step away from developing a plan to make a new future for the human race on the planet of Mars. Since the 1960s, the countries of our world have been executing numerous missions to learn more about the “red planet” (Mars) and how it could be transformed into the next Earth. They have learned that this vibrant planet may not be so far off as it appears.
Scientists call Mars “Earth’s cousin” as they share a number of similarities. There are also some claims that Mars was once even more similar to Earth than it is now; hosting water on its surface and even life. Let’s dig deeper into the similarities and differences between Mars and its cousin, Earth.
Similarities and Differences Between Mars and Earth:
1. Surface Temperature
Average temperature: -81 degrees F (-62.8 °C)
Highest temperature: 70 degrees F (20°C) at noon of equator in the summer
Lowest temperature: -225 degrees F (-135°C) at poles
Average temperature: 57 degrees F (13.9 °C)
Highest temperature: 136.4 degrees F (58°C) measured in EL Azizia, Libya by 1922 
Lowest temperature: -128 degrees F (-89.2°C) at Antarctica recorded by Vostok station 1983
Conclusion: Even though Earth and Mars experience somewhat similar seasonal changes, as the surface of Mars reaches extremely low temperatures, presently, it would be exceedingly difficult to sustain human life on its surface. However, rather than shying away from this challenge, scientists have allowed it to motivate them to devise possible methods of controlling the temperatures on Mars.
The average temperature on Mars is -81 degrees F (-62.8 °C) lower than the average temperature on Earth 57 degrees F (13.9 °C). Though Earth, on average, is remarkably warmer than Mars, there are places on Earth that are uninhabitable during cold seasons due to their extremely cold temperatures, such as Antarctica.
2. Days and years length
a. Days Length
b. Year Length
Conclusion: Mars’s orbit is wider than Earth’s orbit, making a year on Mars longer by about 321.75 Earth days.
Number of moons : Two moons
Names of moons : Phobos and Deimos
Moons details: Phobos moon has a diameter of 13.8 miles (22.2 km) and mass of (1.08×1016 kg), while Deimos moon has diameter of 7.8 miles (12.6 km) and mass of (2×1015 kg)
Number of moons : One moon
Moon details: Earth’s moon has a diameter of 2158.7 miles (3,474.2 km) and mass of (7.342×1022 kg)
Conclusion: Mars has two moons: Phobos and Deimos. Phobos is larger and heavier than Deimos. When comparing Earth’s moon with Phobos (the largest of Mars’s moons), Earth’s moon weight around 6.79 million times more than Phobos, while the diameter of Earth’s moon is 156.49 times longer than Phobos.
4. Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Levels
a. Atmosphere thickness
b. Atmosphere pressure
Average surface pressure value: 610 Pa
Average surface pressure value: 98,500 Pa
Conclusion: Earth’s atmosphere is 100 times thicker than Mars’s atmosphere, which makes life possible on Earth; protecting Earth and its rich, diversity of life from harmful solar radiation.
Earth’s surface pressure is 180 times greater than the surface pressure on Mars.
6. Planets colors
Color when viewed from Earth: mostly red
Color when monitored from Mars’s surface: butterscotch, golden, tan, brown, and greenish
Curious to learn more? Check out the following article about the actual color of Mars: “Is Mars Actually Red?”
Color: mostly green, blue, white, and brown
Conclusion: While Mars appears to be red when we look at it from Earth, its color is primarily butterscotch when looking past its atmosphere and onto its surface.
7. Distance from the Sun
Average distance from the Sun: 142 million miles (228.5 million km)
Farthest distance from the Sun (Aphelion): 154.8 million miles (249.13 million km) – this instance in Mars’s orbit occurs around the 5th of July each year.
Shortest distance from the Sun (Perihelion): 128.4 million miles (206.64 million km) – this instance in Mars’s orbit occurs around the 4th of January each year.
Average distance from the Sun: 93 million miles (149.7 million km)
Farthest distance from the Sun (Aphelion): 94.5 million miles (152 million km) – this instance in Earth’s orbit occurs around the 5th of July each year.
Shortest distance from the Sun (Perihelion): 91.4 million miles (152 million km) – this instance in Earth’s orbit occurs around the 4th of January each year.
Conclusion: Mars is 1.5 times farther from the Sun than Earth (on average).
Gravity value: 0.375 of the gravity value on Earth
Gravity value: 2.66 of the gravity value on Mars
Conclusion: The gravity on Mars is 62.5% less than the gravity on Earth, which means that if you weighed 100 lbs on Earth, you would weigh only 37.5 lbs on Mars! So, if you were to jump on Mars, the height of your jump would be almost three times higher than if you were to jump on Earth using the same amount of force.
The tallest mountain on Mars: Olympus Mons (a shield volcano that is 624 km (374 mi) in diameter and 25 km (16 mi) high — making it the largest volcano in the solar system)
The tallest mountain on Earth: Mount Everest (8.85 km (5.5 mi) in height)
Conclusion: Mars boasts the largest volcano in the solar system (Olympus Mons), which has a height of 25 km (16 mi) — 2.82 times the height of the tallest mountain on Earth: Mount Everest.
The largest canyon on Mars: Valles Marineris or “The Grand Canyon of Mars.” This is the largest canyon in the solar system; extending over 3000 km (1864 mi) in length and spanning as much as 600 km (372.8 mi) across. Valles Marineris delves an astounding 8 km (5 mi) into Mars’s surface.
The largest canyon on Earth: Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, which stretches for 500 km (300mi).
Conclusion: Mars has the largest canyon in the entire solar system: Valles Marineris, which has an incredible length of 3000 km (1864 mi) — 6 times longer than the longest canyon on Earth (Yarlung Tsangpo).
Time of Mars’s formation: 4.5 billion years ago
Time of Earth’s formation: 4.7 billion years ago
Conclusion: Earth is a bit older than Mars by about 0.2 billion years. However, both planets were almost formed within the same time period.
Although Mars and Earth share some significant differences, Mars is still the key to the future of human life. While the temperatures, oxygen levels, carbon dioxide levels, and atmosphere thickness on Mars presently make it a hostile and uninhabitable place, scientists are working hard to discover how life on Mars could one day be possible.