Named after the Roman God of War, Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and closest to Earth. It’s the second-smallest planet in our solar system and nicknamed the “Red Planet because of its reddish appearance. its atmosphere is composed mainly of carbon dioxide
Mars Facts for Kids
- Mars is named after the Roman God of War.
- Mars is the fourth planet from the sun
- It has two moons called Phobos and Deimos
- It’s the second-smallest planet in our solar system
- There have been 40 missions to Mars, and only 18 were successful.
- Its atmosphere is composed mainly of carbon dioxide.
- Galileo Galilei made the first telescopic observation of Mars in 1610
- If you weigh 100-pound on Earth, you would only weigh 38 pounds on Mars
- Nicknamed the red planet because of the iron minerals on the surface.
- Mars is 227,936,637km away from the sun
- It takes about nine months to get to Mars from Earth
- A day on Mars is 24 hours and 37 minute
- One year on Earth is 365 days a year on Mars is 687 days
The surface of mars
Mars has channels, plains and canyons all over the surface.
Scientists think that this was probably caused by water erosion in the past, which means that parts of the surface have been worn away.
As it’s so cold, there are actually polar ice caps here! Wow. They’re made out of dry ice, which lies over a layer of ice.
What does the name Mars mean?
Well Mars was the Roman god of war and agriculture. These two don’t really seem to fit together do they, but surprisingly they do!
Mars protected the people who fought for their communities and stayed home to raise crops for food. Well that’s pretty awesome.
Is Mars like Earth?
Scientists thought for ages that Mars was very similar to Earth, but it’s not as similar as they thought.
There are those giant canyons and crevices that mark the surface, and they also believe that at one time there was lots of water there.
Mars has two moons which are called Deimos and Phobos.
The Red Planet
Did you know that Mars is actually sometimes called the ‘Red Planet’?
Well the reason for this is that is has covered in rock and red dust made from iron, which makes it look red! Cool.
Out of all the planets Mars has fairly calm conditions, without raging storms and all sorts!
Although it does have some fairly hectic dust storms, which change its surface all the time.
These dust storms can last for months and sometimes cover the entire planet.
As it’s so close to the Earth it is possibly the most likely place where humans will explore in the future.
Wouldn’t it be great to go on a Mars mission?
Missions to Mars
At first the only way to learn a bit more about Mars was to have satellites roaming around in the solar system taking loads of pictures.
Then they sent spacecraft out into orbit to explore a bit more.
But things have changed. It has now been explored by some Mars Rovers, which are like robots.
Some of these missions worked out well, and others didn’t.
These seriously clever robots get samples and pull together all sorts of information for scientists to study back on Earth.
You can read more about the Mars rover project here
Mars is home to absolutely massive volcanoes.
Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the solar system and stands nice and tall at 21km and is 600km wide at the bottom.
At 13 miles high that’s one serious volcano!
It has a thin atmosphere, which is made up mostly of carbon dioxide.
So what does this mean?
Well as it’s so thin it can’t trap the sun’s heat like Venus for example, so this is one very, very cold planet.
You can get temperatures anywhere between -120⁰C on winter nights to 25⁰C in summer.
Pieces of Mars have actually fallen to Earth! Scientists have found tiny traces of Martian Atmosphere, which is what the Mars atmosphere is called, in meteors that were sent hurtling out into the big, wide solar system.
They would then orbit around the Earth for millions of years and then make a crash landing where we call home.
Scientists have discovered over 220 Meteorites from Mars on Earth.
The Red Planet is really interesting, and you should be all clued-up now on all things Mars.
Do you think we would ever be able to call this place home?