A selection of 12 interesting facts about Mars the most mysterious planet in the solar system.
12 interesting facts about Mars
1. The diameter of Mars is 6780 km. It is smaller than Venus and Earth but larger than Mercury. The force of gravity on the surface of the Red Planet is 37% of that of the earth.
2. The duration of an average solar day on Mars (called sols) is 24 hours 39 minutes 35 seconds. This is only 2.7% longer than Earth days. The Martian year consists of 668.6 sols.
3. Now, Mars does not have a global magnetic field. However, there are magnetized areas in its crust, indicating that in the distant past, the planet possessed it.
4. The temperature on Mars ranges from -153 ° C at the poles in winter to + 25 ° C at the equator in summer, in temperate latitudes – from -50 ° C in the winter night to 0 ° C in the summer day. The average temperature of the Red Planet is -55 ° C.
5. Martian sunrises and sunsets are the exact opposite of earthly ones. Due to the dust scattered in the planet’s atmosphere, they are painted in blue tones.
6. Mars’ polar caps consist of two layers. The lower one represents a mixture of water, ice, and dust – this is the so-called—permanent hat. The observed seasonal variation comes from the top layer of solid carbon dioxide known as dry ice. In spring, with an increase in temperature, it sublimes (passes from a solid to a gaseous state without melting), as a result of which the apparent size of the cap decreases. Carbon dioxide begins to freeze out of the atmosphere in winter, and the cap grows again.
7. The atmosphere of Mars is 95% carbon dioxide. It is characterized by noticeable seasonal pressure drops associated with the evaporation and freezing of the polar caps. On average, atmospheric pressure at the Martian surface is 160 times less than at the Earth’s surface at sea level.
9. The largest volcanoes in the solar system are located on the Red Planet. They are located in the province of Tarsis – a huge volcanic highland with a total area of 30 million km² (comparable to Africa’s area). The mass of the volcanic deposits of Tarsis is so great that, according to scientists, it could cause a shift in the axis of rotation of the planet.
10. Mars has a pronounced asymmetry. Its southern hemisphere and equatorial regions are an ancient, densely cratered surface. The Northern Hemisphere is mainly occupied by a giant lowland (Great Northern Plain) about 10,600 km long and 8,500 km wide. Its average height is 6 km below the rest of the surface.
The asymmetry of the Martian hemispheres may be caused by the consequences of a giant collision experienced by the planet at the dawn of the solar system’s evolution.
11. Mars has one of the largest canyon systems in the solar system, known as the Mariner Valley. Its length is 4500 km (a quarter of the planet’s circumference), width – 200 km, depth – up to 11 km. It is 10 times longer than the famous Grand Canyon of the Colorado River (USA) and 7 times larger in width and as many times in depth.
12. Spacecraft data indicate that Mars possessed a full-fledged hydrosphere in the distant past. Streams of water flowed on its surface; lakes and seas existed there. But as the climate changed, almost all of it was lost.
The remnants of Martian water are now concentrated in the polar caps and the subsurface permafrost layer tens and hundreds of meters thick. According to modern estimates, if this ice were melted, the surface of Mars would be covered with a layer of water several tens of meters thick.