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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, magnesium, aluminum, calcium, and potassium. This crust is between 6 and 30 miles (10 to 50 kilometers) deep.

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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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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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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 ang...

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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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Structure

Structure

Mercury is the second densest planet, after Earth. It has a large metallic core with a radius of about 1,289 miles (2,074 kilometers), about 85 percent of the planet's radius. 

There is evidence that it is partly molten, or liquid. Mercury's outer shell, comparable to Earth's outer shell (c...

Structure

Venus is in many ways similar to earth in its structure. 

It has an iron core that is approximately 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) in radius. Above that is a mantle made of hot rock slowly churning due to the planet's interior heat. 

The surface is a thin crust of rock that bulges and...

Structure

Structure

The composition of jupiter is similar to that of the Sun - mostly hydrogen and helium. Deep in the atmosphere, pressure and temperature increase, compressing the hydrogen gas into a liquid. 

This gives Jupiter the largest ocean in the solar system—an ocean made of hydrogen instead of water....

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