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Mars :: Planet Overview

NASA scientists celebrated the successful landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander on May 31, 2008! Get the 411 on our mysterious neighbor!

What's in a Name?

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and was named after the Roman God of War. It is often referred to as the Red Planet because of the color it appears when viewed from earth. Many early civilizations associated Mars with its red color. Egyptians called it Her Descher which means The Red One.

All About Mars

People once thought that Mars was just like Earth but when astronomy became more advanced, we realized that isn't true. Mars is much smaller than Earth and is just the seventh largest planet. Mars has no water and is a very dry place. There are mountains and volcanoes but that's about it. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, named after the mythical horses that drew the War God's chariot. Deimos rises and sets twice a day. The two moons might actually be asteroids pulled in by Mars' gravity.

Mars has a volcano that's taller than any volcano on Earth. Olympus Mons is the tallest volcano in our solar system and is three times taller than Mt. Everest. Another interesting feature on Mars is the gigantic canyon, Vallis Marineris. This canyon is as long as the distance from New York to San Francisco.

Is There Life On the Red Planet?

Despite the fact that the word "Martian" comes from Mars, there is no life on Mars as far as we know. Scientists think that Mars once had water on it because of its physical geography (which has things that resemble riverbeds and canals). The Phoenix Mars Lander will hopefully end this mystery when it drills into the Red Planet to look for frozen water that may be below the surface.

Mars is a firey red colorMars is a firey red color

Fun Facts

  • Author Jonathan Swift gave reasonably accurate descriptions of Mar's two moons orbits in his book Gulliver's Travels. He did this about 150 years before either moon was discovered.
  • The average temperature on Mars is -63 C (-81 F). It can get as cold as -143 C (-220 F) and as hot as 20 C (68 F).
  • A day on Mars is 24 hours and 39 minutes which is very close to on Earth day.
  • A year on Mars is 685 Earth days.
  • The atmosphere of Mars is made of of mostly carbon dioxide.
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What is Your Favorite Space Movie?

  • Men In Black
  • Star Wars
  • War of the Worlds
  • Star Trek

General In The Forums

AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Debating:
Dabbing WITH a Fidget Spinner  :'D :'D  100 :'D :'D
reply about 2 hours
KayKayZ
KayKayZ posted in Say Anything:
I have 4 siblings, 3 of them half and 1 of them full. One of which I've yet to meet. And I happen to be the youngest. :confused
reply about 3 hours
Sabertooth156
Only 2
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Mermaid_Author14
I'm sad to see you leaving so soon, especially because we have only been friends for a little while.  I didn't know your birthday was coming up so quickly, or that you were going to be 18! I have lots of things to say about you (all good things), but it'll be hard to name them all. I just want you to know that it's not about how long you've been here, it's about the memories that last a lifetime. I hope you have a happy birthday and a great trip!
reply about 7 hours
AnnaOfExquizurd
" In the vast, deep forest of Hyrule… long have I served as the guardian spirit… I am known as the Deku Tree. The children of the forest, the Kokiri, live here with me. Each Kokiri has his or her own guardian fairy. However, there is one boy who does not have a fairy…. " *** In his tree-trunk home, the boy was tossing and turning on his little cot. The circular room was dark; it was nighttime. And, as it was nighttime again, his young mind was plunged into the same nightmare again.... Hooves, galloping in a rapid staccato, like a myriad of drums being pounded, raced across a dark path lit on either side by fire as tall as the boy. But they only reached the shoulders of the horse as dark as midnight, its master clothed in cloth and armor just as dark. But that wasn't what was scary... it was the aura of evil practically dripping off the man, with his fiery hair and dark, nearly-green skin.... And how real he felt. *** "...Navi... Navi, where art thou? Come hither...." Back in my clearing, a cyan ball of light entered my line of sight, gently bobbing a few feet off of the ground. A pair of barely visible clear wings were the only indicator that she was facing me. Compared to my massive size, she was almost a speck. " Oh, Navi the fairy... listen to my words, the words of the Deku Tree.... Dost thou sense it? The climate of evil descending upon this realm.... Malevolent forces even now are mustering to attack our land of Hyrule.... For so long, the Kokiri Forest, the source of life, has stood a barrier, deterring outsiders and maintaining the order of the world.... But, before this tremendous evil power, my power is as nothing.... It seems the time has come for the boy without a fairy to begin his journey... the youth whose destiny it is to lead Hyrule to the path of justice and truth.... Navi, go now! Find our young friend and guide him to me... I do not Have much time left. Fly, Navi, fly! The fate of the forest--nay, the world--depends upon thee. "
reply about 13 hours