Mars is one of the many planets that have our scientists intrigued and excited about the possibility of life beyond the Earth. The fourth planet from the Sun was first observed through a telescope by Galileo in 1610(1). But the planet has been documented for over 4,000 years, which makes crediting its discovery to one person difficult.
Mars is the most widely searched planet for life outside of our planet owing to its landscape that is somewhat similar to the Earth’s. The many missions to explore and study the planet have revealed some of the most interesting facts.
In this post, we share some fascinating Mars facts for kids that can make them wonder and yearn for more information about the planet.
Interesting Mars Facts For Kids
- Jump three times higher: Gravity is weak on this planet, so the force allows a person to jump three times higher than they can jump on the Earth. Wondering how that feels? The movie John Carter, with visuals of a man jumping on Mars, could give you some idea.
- Day on Mars: This planet takes a longer time to complete one revolution around the Sun. A day on the Red Planet is 24 hours and 37 minutes long – slightly more than a day on our Earth. A year on Mars is 687 Earth days, which is twice the length of a year on Earth!
- First spacecraft on Mars: Viking Landers was the first spacecraft to land on Mars. It touched the planet’s surface in 1976.
- Roman God of war: The naming of Mars has a mythological connection. The planet gets its name from the Roman God of War owing to its fiery red appearance. It is called the Red Planet because of its reddish-brown surface, visible when seen from a distance.
- Fourth planet of the Solar System: Planets are arranged in a magnetic sequence that lets them revolve around the Sun. Earth is in the third position, and then comes Mars in the fourth place. Scientists believe that if the distance between Mars and the Sun decreases slightly, then the possibility of life on Mars will increase.
- Red Planet: Mars appears red when observed through a telescope from the Earth. It gets that color due to a large amount of iron-oxide or rust in its soil and rock. The planet’s color changes to bright red during an eclipse. NASA’s official photo catalog includes several outstanding pictures of Mars.
- Second smallest planet in the solar system: With a diameter of 6,791 kilometers, Mars is roughly half the size of Earth. That means it can accommodate only half the Earth’s population should we ever decide to move there!
- Geological history of Mars: According to Space Science Reviews, the geological history of mars is divided into three periods, namely the Noachian Period (4.5 billion years ago), the Hesperian Period (3.3 billion years ago), and the Amazonian Period (2.9 billion years ago). These periods describe the formation of the planet and its geological changes during that time.
- Water on Mars: Water currently exists only in the solid form on Mars. This happens due to its atmospheric pressure, which is 1% less than the Earth (2). The two polar caps are a source of water on the planet, and a huge landscape of frozen CO2 appears in the polar regions.
- Eclipse cycle: Mars experiences partial or annular eclipse. It has two moons, which are small and can only block the Sun partially. NASA’s Curiosity Rover captured photographs of the eclipse on Mars (3). The most amazing one, the “Martian moon Phobos” occurred on March 26, 2019. Sadly, no one can ever view the eclipse from Mars.
- Climatic conditions on Mars: Due to similar tilts in rotational axes, seasons of the Earth and Mars could have been similar, but the distance to the Sun and the differences in the planets’ orbits don’t allow it.
- Life on Mars: In 2018, NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on Mars and discovered life-tracing compounds in sedimentary rocks. This sample study changed perspective towards life on Mars. Scientists claim that there’s a possibility that life existed on the surface of Mars billions of years ago. Research and studies about that are in progress.
- Owner of two Moons: Phobos and Deimos are the two moons revolving around the red planet. Both moons are small and remain covered in a dust ring.
- Future on Mars: On July 30, 2020, NASA launched the Perseverance Rover to collect samples on ancient microbial life on the planet. Europe Space Agency (ESA) has plans to launch ExoMars Rover in 2022. NASA and ESA have a joint project to launch the Mars sample return mission in 2026, which would disclose several secrets about the Red Planet.
- Mars and media advertising: Did you know that Hollywood has produced 40+ movies with the Martian concept? The first short film named “A Trip to Mars,” was released in 1910, and after that, humankind never stopped to explore and discover new facts about the planet. John Carter, The Martian, Mission to Mars, Escape from Mars, and The Space Between Us are a few films set on Mars.
- Largest dust storms in the solar system: On a stormy day on Mars, the wind blows at 160 km/hr with iron-oxide dust particles. Mars experiences the largest dust storms in the entire solar system. Storm situations are common there and, at times, cover the complete planet.
- Freezing cold: It is twice as cold as Mount Everest on Mars. Its distance from the Sun makes it a cold planet. Mars’ Equator region experiences temperatures around 20°C, but it remains as low as -140°C at the poles. Climatic conditions may change in the next 25,000 years, and maybe the planet will adapt to an atmosphere favorable to life.
- Solar system’s highest mountain: Olympus Mons on Mars is the highest peak discovered in the solar system (4). The volcanic mountain is triple the size of Mount Everest and spreads across the Martian land. It is an active volcanic range that might erupt in the future, perhaps after a few million years.
- Red Planet meteors: Asteroid and Meteor showers on Earth are a natural phenomenon. Sometimes, these asteroids first hit the Mars’ surface and later get diverted towards Earth. Debris of such asteroid and meteor showers is scattered across the planet.
- Introducing Martians: While we have found no evidence of life on Mars, let alone aliens or human-like species, we have a name ready for the inhabitants of Mars – Martians. The Martian term came from Hollywood, where the alien characters bring the magic of space to the big screen.
These simple facts are enough to pique the child’s curiosity about the Red Planet. Read on as we list some more cool facts about Mars.
Cool Mars Fun Facts for Kids
- Mars-One is the dream project of scientists to colonize the Red Planet by the year 2022.
- Earth can fit in six Mars planets in terms of volume. Mars is extremely small when compared to the Sun. If the Sun were a typical front door, Mars would be the size of aspirin (5).
- Scientists have found rock samples of Mars’ surface on the Earth.
- Mars is perhaps the most popular planet of the solar system that captured International media attention.
- It is the closest terrestrial planet next to Earth.
- The average distance from Earth to Mars is 225 million km / 140 million miles.
While scientists continue to study and speculate the chances of inhabiting Mars, it may take a hundred years or more to find ways to survive on the Red Planet. Until then, we will have such remarkable facts about the planet and Hollywood movies about the fictional Martians to keep us intrigued.
2. Water on Mars? University of California
3. Curiosity Captured Two Solar Eclipses on Mars; Nasa.gov
4. Volcanoes: Olympus Mons , 1998; Nasa.gov
5. The Mars Planet; Nasa.gov
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