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“The Red Planet” Mars

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Mars, or “The Red Planet”, as it is sometimes referred to due to the red brown color of its surface is the fourth planet from the Sun and is the planet that most relates to Earth out of all those in our solar system. It is 227,940,000 km away from the Sun and the last of the terrestrial planets. Mars’ name, much like many of the other planets, comes from an ancient Roman mythological figure the God of War. Many researchers believe this was because of the red blood-like color it gave off; therefore representing the bloodshed of war.

Being the second smallest planet next to Mercury you would expect the landmass to be much smaller compared to Earth, but with 70% of Earth’s surface being water Mars and Earth are very similar. 16 out of 39 missions to Mars have been successful, on July 14, 1965 the Mariner 4 successfully flew by Mars capturing the first close up images of the Planet. (Mars Facts) Mars has a whopping mass of 641,693,000,000,000 billion kg which is only one-tenth the size of Earth, therefore the gravity on Mars’ surface is only about 37% of that on Earth.(Mars) Debris from Mars have entered the Earth’s atmosphere and landed on Earth which gives scientists information about the weather, surface of the planet, the atmosphere, potential to host life, and much more. Due to the lack of effect from the Earth’s ecosystem on these rocks from Mars, scientists are able to discover more.

The atmosphere of Mars is about 95% carbon dioxide and is 100 times thinner than the Earth’s atmosphere. At one point the atmosphere on Mars was thick enough for water to run along the surface. NASA’s latest mission to discover the Martian atmosphere is called MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution), they are debating whether the vulnerability of Mars atmosphere slowly broke down because of the light gravity, the Sun’s pressure stripping away at the atmosphere, along with its lack of global magnetic field, or a giant impact that stripped the planet of most of its atmosphere. Mars atmosphere isn’t completely stripped away, it is strong enough to hold wind, clouds, and weather. This allows Mars to hold the title for largest dust storms in the solar system, dust is also a huge part of the Martian atmosphere. Some dust storms can last months and can also cover the entire surface of the planet raising temperatures. These planet wide dust storms are said to occur because of the momentum of Mars, which is extremely affected by the other planets in the solar system.

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