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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

Random In The Forums

Myshkin
Myshkin posted in Debating:
"Jolly-Rancher206" wrote:One human being doesn't have more value than another "Jolly-Rancher206" wrote:If one believes life has intrinsic value in the first place (can't be proven, touched measured, just is) then how can you go about distinguishing the amount of value someone has? Life having intrinsic value doesn't mean that a person's value can not increase or stagnate based upon their actions and character. Mass murderers, for example, are viewed as having less value (either to you or I, or society in general, but either way we perceive them differently) than an ordinary law-abiding citizen. In a similar way, a man has greater worth than a woman in certain situations, and a woman greater worth than a man in certain situations. It's not necessarily strictly based upon being a man or woman either, it's just what their general behavior is viewed as: for example, women are generally held to be more empathetic than men, therefore more people prefer to open their heart up to women because they believe they will be given a more sensitive response. Short of attaining ego death, you're always going to value people differently. It's very nice to say from an abstract, intellectual standpoint that all people are equal, but even in solely your own life you know this isn't how you actually look at things, unless you really are prepared to tell me that the worth of your parents or siblings or close friends or distant friends are not worth more to you than a stranger on the street. I just want to point out in bold that I'm making a distinction between intellectual (or hypothetical/theoretical) understanding of people being equal, either in general or between men and women, and the actual application of trying to apply that principle. It likely leads us to view the two as more equal than if we didn't hold the intellectual view that they're equal, but nonetheless there is always going to be a hint of bias located somewhere. One last thing just for any additional clarity it might provide, because I recognize I might be getting vague here: "Jolly-Rancher206" wrote:I'm saying at bottom one s//x does not have more value than another. I am saying that all people have different values, be they man or woman, but in many situations one is preferable to the other and therefore their value as you perceive it is greater at that time (context).
reply 14 minutes
CaptJolee
CaptJolee posted in Debating:
like  I said it also could be another serial killer
reply 15 minutes
Pink_Cool_Girl
Well, go to his website and there is a picture of a new animatronic: Baby. But there is more than one animatronic, so why would he say one? :/
reply 16 minutes
Unrung
Unrung posted in General:
"inkdeath" wrote: "Unrung" wrote: When a child cries because her favorite pet died, you wouldn't tell her she has no right to be upset because children are starving in Africa, would you? A favorite pet dying is not as tragic as a child starving in Africa.    I get it now. You have the iq level of a fish.  Yes. I agree 100%. A favorite pet dying is not as tragic as a child starving in Africa. But that has no bearing on how a child should feel if their pet dies, was my point.
reply 26 minutes
Jolly-Rancher206
"Myshkin" wrote: "Jolly-Rancher206" wrote: "Myshkin" wrote: It means that men and women are not inherently equal, though certainly you can view their worth as being about equal. Only about? Only about. You might be able to delude yourself into thinking the two have the exact same worth but that will never actually happen due to unconscious biases, nor does the principle translate into the real-world very well where people are not made of the same stuff and the worth of a person is based upon context and character. Hold up. Yeah people are biased and some may see one s//x as better than the other. And yes people don't live that way in the real-world. I'm saying at bottom one s//x does not have more value than another. One human being doesn't have more value than another. I don't believe someone's character or personality changes that. I can think someone is a bad person, does bad things, but still affirm they have as much worth as a person as I do. If one believes life has intrinsic value in the first place (can't be proven, touched measured, just is) then how can you go about distinguishing the amount of value someone has?
reply 37 minutes