Red Planet Day 2022: Mars, named after the Roman God of War, continues to captivate humans centuries after its discovery, despite having a scant atmosphere mostly consisting of carbon dioxide.
Mars is also called by the name Red Planet due to its colour of surface. It is the fourth planet from the Sun and Earth’s neighbour which holds the potential to possibly host the humankind some day. The first spacecraft to arrive on Mars, on November 28, 1964. November 28 is celebrated as Red plant Day across the globe. The Mariner 4 spacecraft was designed to collect data during fly-bys and communicate it back to Earth. On July 14, 1965, the spacecraft conducted a flyby of Mars after nearly eight months of travel.
Here are some interesting and rare facts about Mars that surprise you:
Similar landmass to Earth
Surprisingly, although being almost half the size of Earth, Mars’ surface has nearly the same area as Earth’s dry land. Furthermore, Martian surface gravity is only 37% that of Earth’s, implying that you could leap nearly three times higher on Mars.
- Mars has sent parts of itself to Earth
Planetary fragments are ejected over time as astronomical objects such as big asteroids collide with them. These crashes generate large amounts of ejecta, which can launch objects into space if the impact is powerful enough. As a result, fragments of Mars have already landed on Earth. These tiny fragments of rock, known as ‘Martian Meteorites,’ have mysteriously made their way to Earth.
- Mars’ frozen ice may have originally been liquid
The presence of water on a planet is regarded to be one of the key conditions for life. The findings, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, give the first independent line of evidence that there is liquid water beneath Mars’ south pole, using data other than radar.
- Tallest Known Mountain in the Solar System
Olympus Mons, Mars’ biggest volcano, is also the tallest peak in the solar system. This massive mountain is approximately 16 miles (25 kilometres) tall and 373 miles (600 kilometres) in diameter. Though it may have created billions of years ago, evidence from its volcanic lava suggests that it is still active, according to several scientists.
- In the future, there could be an orbiting ring
Scientists believe that gravitational forces will someday split Phobos, Mars’ largest and most mysterious moon. This will cause a debris field to emerge, which will eventually settle into a stable orbit and form a rocky ring around Mars, similar to Saturn and Uranus.