Astronomy — The Planet Mars
- Distance from the Sun: 141,600,000 miles
- Time for one solar circuit, in Earth days: 687 days
- Time for one axial rotation, in Earth days: 25 hours
- Diameter: 4,000 miles
- Surface temperature range: -200° F to 80° F
- Atmosphere: A thin layer of atmosphere of CO2 (95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 2% argon)
- Mars’ axis of rotation is tipped 24° (Earth’s axis is tipped 23.5°). Hence, Mars has “seasons”, similar to Earth.
- Mars has two moons. Phobos, with a diameter of 18 miles and Deimos, with a diameter of 8 miles).
- Mars has polar caps which grow each “winter” and diminish each “summer”.
- Mars had a period of volcanism which lasted 3 billion years. Mt. Olympus, an inactive volcano, is 16 miles high (84,000 feet) and 370 miles wide at its base. By comparison, Mauna Loa in Hawaii is 6 miles high and 140 miles wide.
- The Martian valley, Valles Marineris, is 2500 miles long, 120 miles wide, and 4 miles deep.
- Water was plentiful on Mars at one point in its’ history.
- Mars has no appreciable magnetic field. Thus, it probably has no metallic core.
- The red tint of Mars, as seen from Earth, is due to the iron oxides in the Martian soil.
- There is enough frozen water in Mars’ crust to cover the planet to a depth of 400 meters (Earth’s water could cover it to a depth of 3 kilometers).
- In our solar system, Mars has the largest impact crater (Hellas, 1000 miles across), the largest canyon (Valles Marineris, 2500 miles long and 4 miles deep), and the largest volcano (Mt. Olympus, see above).
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