Mars, aka the Red Planet, is the 4-th Planet from the Sun, the last inner and terestrial Planet we will talk about.

Orbiting at an average distance of 141,600,000 miles or 227,900,000 km from the Sun it’s roughly half the size of Earth and is now dry, barren planet, marked with craters, extinct Volcanoes and canyons. In the past, Billions years ago, Mars was different, and it probably had lakes and oceans, evidence from orbiting space probes and rovers sent there.

Like Earth, Mars has different seasons and also polar caps. Temperatures range from 20C (68F) to -125C (-193F).

Mars orbits he sun every 687 Earth days, so a year on Mars is nearly twice as long as a year on Earth. Mars’ axis is tilted, as a result of witch, Mars has seasons.

The structure of Mars is similar to that on Earth, with a distinct crust, mantle and core. We now about Mars’ crust, from the rovers sent there, but the interior is less known to humans. Today, on 5 of March 2018, NASA sent a robotic lander on Mars named InSight, which will explore the inner structure of the red planet. It will study seismic activity and components of the planet, for the first time in humanity.

The atmosphere on Mars is very thin, the surface pressure is about one hundredth that on earth and it consists mainly of CO2 (carbon dioxide). Recent studies have shown that Mars’s atmosphere also contains nitrogen, argon and trace gases like methane.

Mars has 2 moons: Phobos and Deimos, Phobos being the larger one. Many astronomers believe that the moons were asteroids, attracted by Mars. The moons are very small compared to Mars, as you see in the following picture!

Mars has the largest mountain in the Solar System, which is an extinct Volcano, named Olympus Mons.

There is much more to talk about Mars, mostly about the rovers, that were sent on it. We will discuss it in another later post!

Source: Smithsonian nature Guide: Stars and planets