Facts about Mars
How much do you know about the Red Planet?
Calling all budding young space cadets! Join us on an out-of-this-world adventure with our fascinating facts about Mars…
Facts about Mars
1) Named after the Roman God of war, Mars is the fourth planet from the sun in our solar system.
2) Mars is also known as the ‘Red Planet’ because, well, it’s red! This signature colour comes from the large amount of a chemical called iron oxide (or ‘rust’ as you might know it) in its rocks and soil.
3) Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system after Mercury. With a diameter (distance through the middle) of 6,791 kilometres, it’s roughly half the size of Earth.
4) It can get pretty cold on Mars –– much colder than our own planet, since it’s further away from the sun. At the equator, temperatures can reach 20°C, but at its poles they can plummet to as low as -140°C. Brr!
5) Mars is home to the highest mountain in our solar system –– a volcano called Olympus Mons. Standing a whopping 24 kilometres high, it’s about three times the height of Mount Everest!
Did you know…? There are bits of Mars here on Earth! In the past, asteroids hit the Red Planet, sending debris into space. Some of this debris landed on our planet as meteorites.
6) You could jump around three times higher on Mars than you can on Earth. Boing! This is because the planet’s gravity – the force that keeps us on the ground – is much weaker.
7) Do you like to look at the moon at night? Well, check this out –– Mars has two moons! One is called Phobos and the other Deimos.
8) A day on Mars is 24 hours and 37 minutes –– only a little bit longer than a day on our own planet. A year on Mars, however, is almost twice as long, lasting 687 Earth days! This is because it takes a lot longer than Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun.
9) Until recently, scientists believed that there was no liquid water on the surface of Mars –– only rocks, soil dust and ice. But… News flash! In 2018, they found evidence of a lake under the planet’s south polar ice cap. Exciting stuff!
Did you know that we have a FREE downloadable Mars primary resource? Great for teachers, homeschoolers and parents alike!
10) Humans have not yet been to Mars, but scientists have sent spacecraft there to help them research this fascinating planet. The first spacecraft to land on Mars were the Viking Landers, which touched down on the surface in 1976.