15 Weird And Interesting Facts About Mars

Facts About Mars

1. BLUE SUNSETS

The sun on Mars is tinted blue at sunrise and sunset—when it’s close to the horizon—and is only about half the size of the sun we’re used to seeing on Earth.

2. MORE OXYGEN, PLEASE

Mars has so little free oxygen in its atmosphere that if you tried to breathe unassisted on its surface, you’d have to inhale 14,500 times to get the same amount of oxygen that you’d get in a single breath on Earth.

3. NO LIQUIDS ALLOWED

Due to solar wind storms eroding the Martian atmosphere over time, Mars has extremely low atmospheric pressure, and is very cold. Because of this, water molecules on Mars can only exist as either solid (ice) or gas (vapor).

4. MARTIAN METEORITES ON EARTH

Hunks of Mars have hit the Earth. These are rocks ejected from Mars’ surface into space when an asteroid or large meteor strikes the red planet.

5. POLAR CAPS OF DRY ICE

Mars has ice caps at the poles, as Earth does, but Mars’ ice caps are composed of frozen carbon dioxide. Although these “dry ice” ice caps survive year round, they are constantly changing their shape.

6. SPIDERS ON MARS

In the spring, frozen carbon dioxide in Mars’ polar ice caps sublimates (changing directly from solid to gas)—a process which creates these weird, spider-like formations around the north and south poles.

7. TALLEST PEAK IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Mars has the tallest mountain in the entire solar system—Olympus Mons, which is 16 miles high. That’s nearly three times the height of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth.

8. CHANGES OVER TIME

When viewed from Earth, about a third of Mars is covered with dark markings that change significantly in location and shape over time. That’s because the red planet’s winds move dark-colored sand around the planet’s surface or sweep away brighter-colored dust.

9. THREE-MILE-HIGH DUST STORMS

Dust storms are so huge on Mars that at times, they extend three miles above the planet’s surface, covering all but the highest mountains.

10. TINY MOONS

Mars’ two moons, Deimos (pictured above) and Phobos, are so small and close to Mars that they aren’t visible from some parts of the Martian surface.

11. COLORS

Though we call Mars the “red planet” because it looks that way from Earth, from a closer view its surface actually is multi-hued, with colors that include gold, brown, tan, green, and others.

12. MARTIAN CRATERS

Craters from meteor and asteroid strikes last longer on Mars than they do on Earth, because there is so little erosion.

13. LONGEST VALLEY IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Mars has the deepest, longest valley in the solar system. Valles Marineris stretches for nearly 2,500 miles, about the distance between Philadelphia and San Diego on Earth.

14. SMALLER PLANET, HIGHER PEAKS

Though Mars is much smaller than Earth, its surface has far greater extremes in elevation than our planet does. The difference between the highest to the lowest point on the red planet is 18 miles, compared to 12.4 on Earth.

15. MARS = EARTH – OCEANS

Though Mars is much smaller than Earth—its volume is just 15 percent of our planet—they have about the same land mass. That’s because two-thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, and Mars doesn’t have any oceans, rivers or lakes.

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