18 interesting facts about planet Mars

| Mars Facts Table |

Mass (1024 kg ): 


0.642

Volume (10km^3): 


163.12

Equatorial Diameter (km):


6,792

Polar Diameter (km):


6,752

Age of the Planet: 


4.5 billion years

Number of Moons: 


2

Temperature Range (min~ max): 


(-153 °C ~ 20 °C)

Average SurfaceTemperature: 


-65 °C

Gravity (m/s2):


3.7

Oxygen Level (O2)


0.1%

Carbon Dioxide Level (CO2):


96%

Day Length (hrs):


24.7

Time for Sunlight to the planet:

12.6 minutes

Average Distance from Sun (106 km):


227.9

Closest Distance to Sun (Perihelion) (106 km):


206.6

Furthest Distance from Sun (Aphelion) (106 km):


249.2

Orbit length: 


1430.7 million km

Orbiting velocity (km/h):


86,760

Time to Orbit the Sun (Orbital Period): 


1.88 Earth year

Actual Color: 


Butterscotch, Golden, Tan, Brown, and Greenish

Appearance Color: 


Red

Atmosphere Thickness:


100 times thinner than earth

Axial Tilt Angle (degrees):


25.19

Magnetic field:

Very weak

Ring system: 


Not exist
Credit: NASA

Mars could be the most promising and valuable object in outer space to not only astronauts, but the whole world: in the future, Mars could potentially act as a new home for millions of humans. As the planet of Mars shares a number of interesting similarities with Earth, scientists are currently dedicating considerable amounts of time, money, and effort into transforming Earth’s cousin, Mars, from a cold and hostile planet into an inhabitable one for the human race.

 

When taking a closer look at Mars, we can discover that its current oxygen level is only 0.1%; low enough to ensure an immediate death of any human brave enough to stand upon its surface. Furthermore, the surface of Mars is exposed to harmful amounts of deadly space radiation as it lacks a magnetic field (which protects a planet from space radiation). Mars is extremely cold for humans as well: Its temperature falls to minus 225° F (minus 135° C). Although some studies suggest that water might exist on Mars, as temperatures are so cold there, this water would be present in the form of ice rather than a drinkable liquid. Overall, as of now, Mars would be a totally inconvenient place to live. Even so, SpaceX plans to send the first human to Mars by 2025, which is only five years from now!

 

Read on to discover the most interesting facts about Mars, including current plans to transform this inimical planet into the next Earth.

1. Mars is visible to the naked eye.

Mars is one of the planets in our solar system that is visible to the naked eye. Want to catch a glimpse of this spectacular, red-colored planet? The best upcoming date to view Mars in the night sky is as follows:

October 13, 2020 (Mars at Opposition): On this day, Mars will be at its closest position to Earth and its surface will be fully illuminated by the Sun causing it to appear brighter than during any other time of the year. You will be able to witness this stunning astronomical event all night long.

2. Mars is the second smallest planet in our solar system.

Mars, which has a volume of 163.12 x109 km3, is the second smallest planet in the solar system only after Mercury, which possesses a volume of 60.83×109 km3.

3. The diameter of Mars is equivalent to the width of the continent of Africa.

Mars’s equatorial diameter measures 4220 miles (6,792 km), which is only slightly smaller than the width of Africa, which equals 4600 miles (7,402 km).

4. Mars and Earth have almost the same surface area of land.

Excluding the water which covers 70% of Earth’s surface, Mars’s entire surface area is extremely close to the area of all Earth’s continents combined.

5. Mars has two moons called Phobos and Deimos.

There are two moons which orbit around Mars: Phobos, which has a diameter of 13.8 miles (22.2 km) [1] and a mass of 1.2x1013 tons (1.08×1016 kg), and Deimos, which has a diameter of 7.8 miles (12.6 km) [1] and a mass of 2.2×1012 tons (2×1015 kg).

6. Mars’s atmosphere is 100 times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere.

Some studies suggest that the Martian atmosphere was thicker in the past, but eventually got blown away into space by solar winds. 

The atmosphere of Mars is composed of 96% carbon dioxide (CO2), while the surface pressure ranges between 400 to 700 Pa. This means that Earth’s surface pressure is around 180 times greater than the surface pressure of Mars.

A planet’s atmosphere is crucial to protecting a planet from dangerous space radiation

7. The oxygen level on Mars is only 0.1%.

Mars has an oxygen level of less than 0.1%. Under these current conditions, life would be impossible on Mars. When comparing Mars with Earth, we find that Earth has an oxygen level of 21%, which is over 210 times greater than the oxygen level of Mars.

Such a low oxygen level would prove fatal for human beings. Humans become unconscious when exposed to an environment that has an oxygen level of 9%. If this level were to decrease to between 6-7%, a human being would die within a few minutes.

8. Mars has almost no magnetic field.

Today, Mars has no global magnetic field. However, scientists suspect that this wasn’t always the case: it is possible that Mars once had a magnetic field about 4 billion years ago. What makes scientists believe this? There are some areas of the Martian crust in the southern hemisphere that are highly magnetized, which are thought to be traces of a magnetic field that could have existed long ago. [2]

The magnetic field is a critical element in protecting a planet from space radiation – an element which Mars is presently lacking.

9. It is possible that life once existed on Mars.

Scientists believe that billions of years ago, Mars was much warmer and possessed liquid water. Consequently, they also believe that life may have once existed on Mars.

10. Though Mars appears red in the night sky, it isn’t actually red.

Since ancient times, Mars has always managed to capture the attention of humanity, as well as its imagination: Ancient Romans named Mars after the god of war while Ancient Egyptians, when noticing Mars’s fiery glow in the night sky, called it the “Red One.” Though Ancient Egyptians were correct in that Mars appears to be red when viewed from Earth, when we take a closer look at its surface, we find out that it is actually made up of a diverse assortment of colors, including butterscotch, gold, tan, brown and green. [3]

 

Learn more: Why does Mars appear red when viewed from Earth?

11. Mars hosts the tallest mountain and largest volcano in the solar system (Olympus Mons).

Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain not just on Mars, but also in the entire solar system. Olympus Mons is both a mountain and a shield volcano 374 miles (624 km) in diameter and 16 miles (25 km) tall, making it the largest volcano in the solar system. When comparing it with the tallest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest, we find that Olympus Mons soars around 2.82 times higher than Mount Everest, which has a recorded height of 5.46 miles (8.8 km).

12. Mars hosts the largest canyon in the solar system (Valles Marineris Canyon).

The largest canyon on Mars: Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars. It is the largest canyon in the solar system; it extends over 1,864 miles (3,000 km) long snaps as much as 372.8 miles (600 km) across and delves 5 miles (8 km) deep.

13. If you weigh 100 kg on Earth, you would weigh 38 kg on Mars.

Weight essentially measures the amount of gravity that acts upon an object. While gravity determines the weight of an object, the weight of an object differs depending upon which planet it is on, as different planets exert different amounts of gravity. Mars has a gravity of 12 ft/s(3.7 m/s2 ), which is 62% less than the gravity on Earth, which equals 32 ft/s(9.8 m/s2). Thus, an object on Mars would weigh 0.38 what it would weigh on Earth.

14. Six Mars could fit inside Earth.

Mars has a volume of 163.12 x10km3, while Earth has a volume of 1,083.21 x10km3. With some simple calculations, we can deduce that Earth has a volume that is 6.6 times higher than that of Mars. Thus, we could fit around six Mars inside Earth.

15. The length of a day on Mars is 24 hours 37 minutes.

One day on Mars is 41 minutes longer than a day on Earth: Mars’s day length is 24 hours and 37 minutes, while the length of a day on Earth is 23 hours and 56 minutes, which means that a day on Mars is 41 minutes longer than a day on Earth.

By May 2018, there have been a total of 46 missions to Mars made by a number of the world’s countries.18 of these missions have been successful, whereas 28 of them have ended in failure. NASA is recorded as having the highest percentage of successful missions when compared every other country and union in the world: NASA has achieved 14 successful Mars missions out of 22 total Mars missions – that’s a 63% success rate!

Interested in learning more? Explore What Efforts Have Been Made to Reach Mars?

17. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, plans to put the first human on Mars by 2025.

18. Mars and Earth are actually very similar.

To discover just how similar Mars and Earth are, check out “The Similarities Between Mars and Earth.

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