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Exploration

Exploration

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.

Today, an international fleet of robotic spacecraft study Mars from all angles:

On the ground: NASA's next-generation Perseverance rover – the largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world – touched down on mars on Feb. 18, 2021. Two other NASA spacecraft already are at work on the surface. NASA'S curiosity rover is exploring Mount Sharp in Gale Crater. NASA'S insight a stationary lander, is probing the interior of Mars from a site on a flat smooth plain called Elysium Planitia

In orbit: NASA has three spacecraft in orbit: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, and MAVEN.

International missions: The Hope orbiter from the United Arab Emirates arrived at Mars on Feb. 9, 2021. China’s Tianwen-1 mission arrived on Feb. 10, 2021, and it includes an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. ESA manages the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and Mars Express missions. India's first Red Planet spacecraft – the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) – has been orbiting Mars since 2014.

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Quick facts

Quick facts

Day: 24.6 hours

Year: 669.6 sols / 687 earth days

Radius: 2,106 miles / 3.390 kilometers

Planet type: Terrestrial

Temperature: The temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenhe...

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Surface

Surface

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...

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Structure

Structure

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. 

Surrounding the core is a rocky mantle between 770 and 1,170 miles (1,240 to 1,880 kilometers) thick, and above that, a crust made of iron, magnesiu...

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Mars

Mars

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...

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Size and distance

Size and distance

With a radius of 2,106 miles (3,390 kilometers), Mars is about half the size of Earth. 

If Earth were the size of a nickel, Mars would be about as big as a raspberry.

From an average distance of 142 million miles (228 million kilometers), Mars is 1.5 astronomical units away from the S...

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Orbit an rotation

Orbit an rotation

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' axis of rotation is tilted 25 degrees w...

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Moons

Moons

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.

The moons get their names from the horses that pulled the chariot of the Greek god of war, Ares.

  • Phobos, the innermost and larger mo...

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Magnetoshpere

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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Potential for life

Potential for life

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.

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Formation

Formation

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. 

Mars is about half the size of Earth, and like its fellow terrestrial planets, it has a central core, a rock...

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Atmosphere

Atmosphere

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...

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Rings

Mars has no rings However, in 50 million years when Phobos crashes into Mars or breaks apart, it could create a dusty ring around the Red Planet.

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CURATED FROM

CURATED BY

rogierhoekstra

I'm passionate about helping people live their best lives. I'm a lifestyle coach and fitness trainer, and I also write and take photographs. Check out the link below for more and follow me on twitter!

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Asteroid exploration timeline

  • 1991 - NASA's Galileo was able to take close-up images of asteroids
  • 1994 - Discovered the first moon to orbit an asteroid
  • 2001 - Landed a spacecrafts successfully on Near-Earth Asteroid Eros
  • 2006

Exploration

Exploration

Nine spacecrafts have studied jupiter up close. NASA'S Juno spacecraft is currently studying the gas giant planet from orbit 

The spacecraft, which arrived at Jupiter in July 2016, is the first to study the planet's mysterious, cloud-shrouded interior. Scientists also use the Earth-orbiting...

Emerging technologies for space exploration

Two emerging technologies may propel NASA and the rest of the world into an era of faster, low-cost exploration that would lead to more exploration and democratise access to the Solar System.

  • A new generation of companies is developing new rockets for small satellites. Rocket Lab has...

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