All About Mars

All About Mars


Mars is also known as the Red Planet.

Mars on a clear night, is a bright red disc in our sky. The red dust on the surface and in the atmosphere, makes Mars look like a hot dusty desert, but in actual fact it is freezing cold.

Mars is just over half the size of Earth.

Mars is the 4th planet from the Sun.

From the Sun, the eight planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Mars is the second smallest planet in the Solar System, behind Mercury.

Mars like Earth, has a North pole and a South pole. These regions have ice caps that contain frozen water.

Mars is similar to the other terrestrial planets. Its interior is divided into three layers, a crust, mantle and core.

Mars and Earth are very similar. They both have seasons, volcanoes, polar ice caps, atmospheres and snow. However, we couldn’t breathe in their atmosphere, while it is also much colder on Mars than it is on Earth.

The average temperature on Mars is about -80°F (-60°C).

Mars is famous for its huge dusty storms, with high speed winds. They can last for weeks or months, and are so vast they can be seen from Earth by telescope. They can be fierce enough to cover the whole planet in a dusty haze for weeks.

Mars has an atmosphere that is poisonous to humans.

Mars has a very thin atmosphere made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon.

It takes Mars 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun. It takes Earth 365 days (one year).

One day on Mars is 24 hours and 37 minutes, very similar to an Earth day.

Mars is  141,633,260 miles or 227,936,637 km from the Sun.

The surface are of Mars is 144.8 million km².

On Mars the Sun appears about half the size of what we see from Earth.

The minimum distance from Earth to Mars is around 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers). This depends on the alignment of both planets.

The volcanoes on Mars are like giants on the planet. The biggest volcano on Mars is called Olympus Mons, and it may be the biggest volcano in the Solar System. It is three times taller than Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth.

Olympus Mons

Mars has two moons called Phobos and Deimos. They are so small that they once could have being asteroids, that were dragged into orbit around Mars by the planet’s gravity.

Phobos, is 22 kilometers (14 miles) in diameter, while Deimos, is only 13 kilometers (8 miles) in diameter.

Moons orbit planets and the planets orbit the Sun.

The gravity of the Sun keeps all the planets in their orbit, just like the planets gravity keeps moons in their orbit.

An orbit is a journey/path that an object takes in space. For example, stars, planets, asteroids, moons or spacecrafts.

Gravity is the invisible pulling force that works in space. Earth’s gravity is what keeps us on the ground.

The surface gravity of Mars is only 37% of what you would find on Earth. This means you can jump nearly three times higher on Mars.

The air pressure on Mars is only 1% on average of what we have on our surface. Astronauts would not be able to breathe the Martian air and this is why they need a spacesuit with oxygen to work outdoors.

Even though Earth is much bigger than Mars, they both have nearly the same landmass. The reason for this is because most of Earth is covered in water.

The tilt on the axis of Mars is 25 degrees, which means the planet experiences seasons like we do. Earth’s axis is tilted at 23.5 degrees and its these tilts that gives us seasons

The ancient Romans named Mars after their god of war, because when you look at Mars from Earth, the planet looks red and angry.

Researchers have concluded that Mars smells like rotten eggs.

The reasons why we call aliens “MARTIANS,” is because in the middle of the twentieth century many people taught there was life on Mars.

Pluto was once considered the 9th planet of the Solar System.

Pluto was once known as a planet. Then in 2006, it was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet, by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), because it could not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a full sized planet.

The three criteria that are required to be called a planet by the IAU are firstly, it has to orbit the Sun, secondly, its shape should resemble a ball like figure, and lastly, it must be able to clear the area around its orbit, by pushing other objects out of its way with its impressive size and gravity.

The reason why Pluto was downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet is because it could not clear the area around its orbit, by pushing other objects out of its way with its size and gravity.

The downgrading of Pluto outraged many in the scientific community.

A spacecraft called Pathfinder landed on Mars in 1997. It carried a small robotic vehicle, called the Sojourner rover, which explored the surface and looked at Martian rocks.

A number of robotic rovers have been sent to Mars to look for signs of past life, and to see if one day the planet could support life in the future. One such vehicle was called the Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, and is still operational as of May 2022.


Scientists were convinced by looking at Mars through a telescope from Earth, that the dark patches they could see were canals built by some kind of alien form. However, when the first successful probe, the Mariner 4, studied the planet from 10,000 km above its surface, it turned out that the planet was dry, cold and empty.

On July 19th, 2020, the United Arab Emirates launched it’s first ever unmanned spacecraft on a mission to Mars, off the southern coast of mainland Japan. The $200 million “Hope Probe” is scheduled to arrive in February 2021, when it will enter into orbit around the Red Planet and begin it’s missions, marking the first planetary science mission led by an Arab country.

The space probe Hope was the first of three space missions sent towards Mars during July of 2020, with missions also launched by the national space agencies of the U.S.A and China. They are all expected to arrive at Mars in February 2021.

On the 9th February 2021, the United Arab Emirates became the fifth country to ever reach Mars, with its space probe, named Hope. After a seven month flight, it successfully entered into orbit around the red planet. The $200 million satellite aims to provide a picture of the Martian atmosphere for the first time, and study daily and seasonal changes on the planet. This is hopefully the first of three space missions to reach Mars this month, with China and the U.S. also sending space probes in quick succession.

China became the sixth nation to ever reach Mars, after its Tianwen-1 probe arrived in orbit around the Red Planet on February the 10th, 2021. Following a seven-month flight, the five-ton orbiter with a lander and a solar-powered rover in tow, will attempt to land on the Martian surface in May of the same year, and spend up to three Earth months studying the planet’s soil and atmosphere.

This milestone by China, sees them join the United States, the Soviet Union, India, the European Space Agency and the United Arab Emirates, who have all successfully sent probes to Mars.

NASA’s Perseverance probe landed safely on Mars, on Thursday the 18th of February, 2021, after traveling some 300 million miles in nearly seven months. Over the next two years, Percy, as it is nicknamed, will use its 7ft (2 meters) arm to drill into the local rocks, looking for evidence of past life. The six-wheeled vehicle is equipped with a record 25 cameras and two microphones. NASA has describe Percy as the most ambitious of nearly 20 U.S. missions to Mars, dating back to 1965. The total cost of the mission could hit $3 billion.

On April 19th, 2021, NASA made history when the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter successfully lifted off from the Martian surface, flew, and landed safely, opening the door for a new generation of space drones. The 4-pound (1.8kg) drone climbed about 10 feet above the ground and hovered for 30 seconds, showing that rotorcraft technology can work in that kind of harsh environment. The Perseverance rover, which carried Ingenuity to Mars, filmed the successful liftoff from a nearby overlook. Ingenuity is the first craft to achieve controlled, powered flight on a planet beyond Earth.

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

Elon Musk’s private space company SpaceX has won a $2.9bn NASA contract (2021) to build a spacecraft to put humans on the Moon. NASA’s plan is to get back to the Moon and using that as a platform to send astronauts to Mars.

On May 14th, 2021, China’s probe to Mars successfully touched down on the Red Planet. The Tianwen-1 vessel touched down in an icy area of Mars known as Utopia Planitia. It had reached Mars in February and had been in orbit since. The Tianwen-1 mission consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover called “Zhurong”, which is about the same size of a small car and comes equipped with six scientific instruments, including a high-resolution topography camera. When the rover rolls of the lander, it will join the United States Perseverance and Curiosity rovers to explore the surface of the Red Planet.

The Tianwen-1 mission makes China the first country to carry out an orbiting, landing and roving operation during its first mission to Mars-a feat unmatched by the only other two nations to reach the Red Planet so far, the United States and Russia. The Soviet Union landed on the planet in 1971, but the mission failed after the craft stopped transmitting information soon after touchdown. Another spacecraft launched by the United Arab Emirates is currently orbiting above Mars gathering data on its weather and atmosphere, but is not designed to make a landing.