Fact: General facts about Mars
Mars is the 4th planet from the Sun, coming next in order after planet Earth. Although a rocky planet like Mercury and Venus, its surface is almost entirely covered with reddish dust. Mars is currently the planet that NASA is most interested in sending manned missions to.
Facts About Mars
Name Origin: Roman. Mars was named after the Roman God of War in antiquity due to its reddish hue. In modern times it is commonly called “the red planet” as the planet is covered in reddish iron oxide (rust).
Size: Average Diameter 6,800km, Mass of approximately 6.4 x 10^23 Kg. Mars is about half as wide as Earth, and only one 10th as massive.
Gravity: 0.37g. Because Mars is quite a bit smaller than planet Earth the gravity on the surface is not as strong. If you weighed 150lbs on Earth, you would only weigh 56.4lbs on Mars!
Temperature: Just like Earth, Mars has very different climate at different locations of the planet. During the summer on the equator, it is possible for the air to reach 35 degrees C (although temperatures closer to 20 degrees are more likely). However at places like the North Pole, the temperature can drop to below -150 degrees C!
Days: Rotational period 24hours 39 minutes. Each day on Mars is only very slightly longer than a day on Earth!
Orbit: Semi Major Axis: 230 million km, Orbital Period 687 days. Being further away from the Sun than the Earth, it takes longer for Mars to complete one full revolution of the Sun. A Martian year is almost 2 Earth years long!
Atmosphere: Carbon Dioxide, Argon, Nitrogen. Because Mars has no magnetic field like Earth, most of its atmosphere is stripped away by solar wind. As a result the density of the air is less than 1% of that found on Earth!
Surface structures: Mars has many fascinating surface features, some of which are so large they can be seen from Earth by telescope! In particular Mars features a huge canyon (Valles Marineris), large polar ice caps made of water and carbon dioxide, and Olympus Mons which is the tallest mountain in the solar system!
Fun facts: Because Mars is one of the closest planets to Earth, and its conditions are more favorable than other planets, there have been more missions designed to study Mars by satalites and landing probes than any other planet. As of 2015, there have been 55 total missions to Mars attempted, and several proposals for sending manned missions to Mars in the next few decades!
To learn more about Mars and the Missions planned by NASA visit
- Mars Overview