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Mars was named by the ancient Romans for their god of war because its reddish color was reminiscent of blood.
Other civilizations also named the planet for this attribute; for example, the Egyptians called it "Her Desher," meaning "the red one." Even today, it is frequently called the "Red Planet" because iron minerals in the Martian dirt oxidize, or rust, causing the surface to look red.
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With a radius of 2,106 miles (3,390 kilometers), Mars is about half the size of Earth.
As mars orbits the Sun, it completes one rotation every 24,6 hours, which is very similar to one day on Earth (23.9 hours). Martian days are called sols—short for "solar day." A year on Mars lasts 669.6 sols, which is the same as 687 Earth days.
Mars has a dense core at its center between 930 and 1,300 miles (1,500 to 2,100 kilometers) in radius. It's made of iron, nickel, and sulfur.
The red planet is actually many colors. At the surface, we see colors as brown, gold, and tan. The reason Mars looks reddish is due to oxidization—or rusting—of iron in the rocks, regolith (Martian “soil”), and dust of Mars. This dust gets kicked up into the atmosphere and from a distance makes t...
Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide , nitrogen, and argon gases. To our eyes, the sky would be hazy and red because of suspended dust instead of the familiar blue tint we see on Earth. Mars' sparse atmosphere doesn't offer much protection from impacts by such objects as me...
Mars has to small moons that may be captured asteroids. They're potato-shaped because they have too little mass for gravity to make them spherical.
When the solar system settled into its current layout about 4.5 billion years ago, Mars formed when gravity pulled swirling gas and dust in to become the fourth planet from the Sun.
No planets beyond earth has been studied as much as mars. Recorded observations of Mars date as far back as the era of ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago, when they charted the planet's movements in the sky.
Scientists don't expect to find living things currently thriving on Mars. Instead, they're looking for signs of life that existed long ago, when Mars was warmer and covered with water.
Mars has no global magnetoshpere today, but areas of the Martian crust in the southern hemisphere are highly magnetized, indicating traces of a magnetic field from 4 billion years ago.
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