Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System. It is often called the “Red Planet” because of the iron oxide present on its surface, which gives it a reddish appearance.
It has a thin atmosphere and surface features similar to those of the Moon’s impact craters, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps. It is the most widely explored planet for potential life, but scientists haven’t yet found evidence of microbial or aquifer-like water on its surface.
Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and is about half the size of Earth. It orbits the sun every 687 days.
The reason that it is called the red planet is because the soil on the surface of Mars looks like rusty iron. This is because it gets blown around in huge dust storms that cover it in a layer of reddish oxide.
It is also the color of the planet’s atmosphere, which is made up of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and trace amounts of oxygen, water, methane and other gases.
Scientists think that Mars once had more liquid water than it does today, which caused it to be a much warmer and wetter place. However, this water has been expelled from the planet over time.
This process has created a variety of different climates on the planet. Some of these changes were due to a changing tilt of the planet’s axis, which caused methane to be released into the atmosphere.
As a result, some areas of the planet became warmer and more liquid while other areas became colder. This has a big impact on the planet’s ecosystem and how it functions.
In addition, Mars’s thin atmosphere can cause it to become very cloudy, making it hard for humans to see the planet. This is why NASA rover missions have stopped working when they have been caught in dust storms on the surface of Mars.
In addition to analyzing the atmosphere, scientists are studying the planet’s internal structure and composition, which is why they are sending a NASA rover, Insight, to Mars in 2018. The rover is using telescopic observations to map out Mars’ inner parts in great detail.
Mars is known for its rusty red color, but there are other colors to be seen. This is because it has a lot of different minerals on its surface, and each one has its own color.
The reddish-brown color of Mars is a result of iron oxide. This is similar to the way rust forms on Earth. The dust that Mars is covered with has a high iron content, and it oxidizes when exposed to air.
Another important factor in the color of the planet is the atmosphere. The planet’s atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide and it has a lot of dust in it. This scatters the light and makes it look orange or red, depending on the amount of dust.
During the day, the sun’s light travels through more of the planet’s atmosphere. This longer trip allows the orange and red light to reach our eyes. But at sunset, the sunlight doesn’t have that long of a journey to travel through the planet’s atmosphere.
This means that the sun’s light looks bluer at night on Mars. It also means that the colors aren’t as accurate as they would be if the planet was a different color.
To make the pictures look more accurate, scientists often touch them up and change the colors. These alterations help researchers see topographical patterns on the planet and also facilitate geologic comparisons between the planet and our own.
There are several ways that astronomers can make images of the planet look better, but one method is to use RGB imaging. This technique is the most accurate in capturing colors tones and contrasts, but it can be quite time-consuming.
Despite its arid surface, Mars once had rivers, lakes and seas. But a few billion years ago, the solar wind pummeled Mars’s atmosphere, stripping away its protective shield and allowing liquid water to evaporate into space.
Today, a majority of Mars’s water is lost to space, either merging with minerals or escaping as ice. But a new study suggests that some of this water may still be stuck on the planet, in the form of molecules trapped in its crust.
Researcher Bethany Ehlmann, a postdoctoral associate at Caltech, and her colleagues say that between 30 and 99 percent of the water on Mars may still be incorporated into the crystal structure of minerals in its crust. It’s a process called crustal hydration, and it may explain the vast majority of water loss from Mars.
The researchers analyzed data from various spacecraft that have visited the planet, including the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Curiosity rover. They found evidence of water incorporated into the crystal structure of minerals across the Martian landscape.
One of the best examples of this is a strange valley in the middle of Mars’s Mount Sharp. Scientists think this valley, Gediz Vallis, was once home to a river that churned up sediment.
They also found rippled rocks in the area that look like the kind of undulating patterns you might see when a wave hits a beach. Mission scientists believe that these grooves are the result of waves of ancient water lapping on a shallow lake, sending rock from the bottom to the top.
These findings are important for future exploration of the Red Planet, as they show how a significant portion of the planet’s water might still be locked up in its crust. Moreover, they could provide a new tool for finding remnants of ancient microbial life that could have blossomed on Mars long ago.
Mars has only two moons — the bigger, inner one called Phobos and the smaller, outer one called Deimos. They are among the most unusual natural satellites in our Solar System and were discovered 145 years ago, in 1877.
These moons have strange orbital trajectories, with Phobos rotating three times a day and Deimos going around once every 30 hours. It’s also interesting to note that both moons have rotation periods that are locked to their orbital motion, which is similar to how our Moon rotates.
This orbital stability helps to keep the long axis of each moon pointed toward Mars, which means that they always present the same face to the Red Planet. This is a phenomenon known as gravity gradient stabilization, which has been used to stabilize low Earth orbiting satellites with similar trajectories.
The most popular explanation for the origin of Mars’ two tiny moons is that they were asteroids caught by the gravity of the planet. This idea is based on the fact that C-type carbonaceous asteroids are abundant in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
However, it doesn’t explain their small size, irregular shape and presumed non-Martian composition (they have a high porosity), or their orbits that do not change due to Mars’ tidal forces. Instead, these moons probably formed in an extended disc of debris from a giant impact on the planet.
This theory is backed up by observations of the two Martian moons, which have spectra and albedos that are different from those of chondrite asteroids and the carbonaceous chondrite meteorites that are common in the asteroid belt. The cratered surface of Phobos also indicates that it was once part of a larger object.
Mars is the coldest planet in our Solar System and is much cooler than Earth. This is because it is far closer to the sun and has a thin atmosphere.
On Mars the air pressure is very low, only about 1% of what it is on Earth at sea level, which makes it extremely difficult for air to carry heat away from the surface. This is why the average temperature on Mars can be about -20 degrees Celsius during summer, which means it can feel quite similar to an average winter day on Earth.
One of the biggest mysteries on Mars is the fact that there is no liquid water on its surface. This is because the low atmospheric pressure is so low that any liquid water on its surface would quickly boil away.
Despite this, researchers have discovered that there is a lot of evidence to show that water once flowed on the planet. This is because there are ice caps that exist on both hemispheres of the planet, as well as a lot of finely layered deposits.
These layers of ice and dust are probably deposited over long periods of time. They also accumulated in times when the axis of Mars was tilted much more than it is today.
Another thing that has been found on the planet is a lot of ice-covered volcanoes and mountains. These are very similar to mountains on Earth and are thought to be the result of climatic change.
Scientists are still trying to figure out what the climate was like on Mars in the past. The most recent research suggests that early Mars was a colder planet than it is now. This is because the sun was not as bright when early Mars was formed, which may have caused it to be colder and icy.