Mars is Earth’s neighbor and yet very different. What makes the red planet Mars planet so interesting and why it is the focus of research?
Mars Is The Second Smallest Planet In The Solar System
Mars is about half the size of the earth, its volume is about one seventh the volume of the earth. Only the planet Mercury is smaller than Mars. At the same time, the red planet is home to the highest volcanoes. From the impact craters on the surface of Mars, experts can deduce the history of the planet. It is assumed that Mars – like the other planets was formed around 4.5 billion years ago.
Why Is Mars Called As The Red Planet?
The red planet for Mars comes from its surface color. To be more precise: the entire surface of Mars is covered with iron oxide dust; this dust can also be found in the atmosphere. Even with the naked eye you can see in the night sky that Mars has a reddish glow. This color, paired with fluctuations in brightness, gave the planet Mars its name.
The Polar Caps Of Mars
If you look at Mars planet with a telescope, you can see the two polar caps and several dark planes. The polar caps consist largely of frozen dry ice and some water ice. The northern polar cap is significantly larger than the polar cap in the south. It has a diameter of about 100 km and is estimated to be about 5 km thick.
Mars Has Two Moons: Phobos And Deimos
Two moons: Phobos and Deimos. Both were discovered in 1877. They were named after the two companions who pull the chariot of the god of war Ares. Phobos and Deimos are irregularly shaped boulders, both of which could be asteroids that were captured by Mars. Experts believe that one day Phobos will either fall on Mars or be torn apart by tidal forces. However, that won’t happen too soon: Researchers have measured that it won’t happen for around 50 million years. Deimos, on the other hand, is slowly moving away from Mars.
There Was Once Liquid Water
While Mars is now a dry desert planet, there may have been liquid water on the surface in its past. This is shown by the numerous Mars missions in recent years. Dry lakes and river beds have been found on Mars. For example, researchers have determined that there must have been enough water on Mars 4 billion years ago to cover the entire planet.
Why Landing On Mars Is Difficult
Soft landings on Mars are a big challenge – until today. This is also shown by the numerous failed attempts: only about 40 percent of all missions launched to date to Mars have been successful. Two aspects make the soft landing on Mars difficult:
- low atmospheric pressure on Mars
- great distance between Mars and Earth