| Share
 

MARS

This rocky planet has a thin atmosphere and ice caps at its poles. Strong winds can whip up dust storms that cover the whole planet. All the water on Mars is frozen into rocks—primitive life may once have formed there.

WHY IS MARS CALLED THE RED PLANET?

Mars appears reddish in Earth’s night sky. The planet was named after the Roman god of war because its color symbolizes fire, blood, and war. Close-up photographs show that the Martian surface is a rusty red color. This is because there are iron compounds in the rocks and soil.

Table 8. MARS DATA

Diameter (width) at equator4,222 miles (6,794 km)
Average distance from Sun141.6 million miles (227.9 million km)
Time to orbit Sun687 days
Time to spin around own axis24.63 hours
Mass0.11 x Earth’s mass
Gravity0.38 x Earth’s gravity
Average surface temperature–81°F (–63°C)
Number of moons2 (Phobos and Deimos)

WHAT IS MARS’S SURFACE LIKE?

Mars has polar ice caps, vast sandy deserts, heavily cratered regions, and high volcanic ridges. It boasts the biggest volcano in the Solar System, Olympus Mons, and the biggest canyon system, Valles Marineris.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring