Named after the Roman god of war, Mars looks red from Earth due to its dust iron oxide. This is why Mars has the nickname of The Red Planet. Although Mars looks nothing like Earth, it’s like the Earth’s twin. Mars shares a lot of the same features Earth has and may have contained life before. Besides being the home to sand storms, a thin atmosphere, and ice caps, it also is the home of two rovers: The Spirit and Opportunity. The evidence gathered by the rovers suggests that Mars had once large-scale water coverage. However, life is still yet to be found.
Unlike Earth, Mars has a very thin atmosphere that contains ninety-five percent carbon dioxide. In these conditions liquid water cannot exist, and life is not possible. However, it is still considered a likely place for the human race to expand onto. This might be because of the fact that Mars’ seasons are the most like Earth of all the planets. Mars temperatures drop down to -140 Celsius during the polar winters and have highs up to 20 Celsius in the summers. The wide range of temperatures is caused by the thin atmosphere which cannot store a lot of solar heat.
Mars has two tiny moons named Phobos and Deimos. These moons are thought to be once asteroids captured by Mars’ gravitational field. These moons are very different from the Earth’s moon. Phobos rises in the West and sets in the East. On the other hand, Deimos rises in the East and sets in the West. Mars’ tidal forces are slowly lowering Phobos’ orbit. Scientists predict in 50 million years it will either crash or break up into a ring structure.
For the future of Mars, manned expedition of Mars is identified as a long term goal. The European Space Agency plans to have a man step onto Mars around 2030. For now, we can enjoy the Mars presence. In case you were interested, Mars can be seen by the naked eye from late July to September. Who knows? We might give the Red Planet a new nickname home.