There is a lot of intrigue about Mars in our world today. It is part of the great unknown of space, and that leads to all types of speculation and curiosity about it. Mars is the 4th planet from the Sun (Mercury, Venus, and Earth are closer) in the Solar System. Mars is also commonly referred to as the “Red Planet” because it appears reddish when looked at from Earth.
Mars is one of the 4 rocky planets, along with Mercury, Venus, and Earth. It has a thin atmosphere and a varying surface with many different features. In some areas, it is heavily cratered like the Moon. In other areas it has volcanoes, canyons, ice caps, etc. In fact, Mars is home to largest known mountain in the Solar System, Olympus Mons. It is also home to largest canyon in the Solar System, Valles Marineres.
Mars is also like Earth in other ways. It’s rotational period and seasonal cycles are similar to those on Earth. Also, at one time it was thought there might be liquid water on Mars. While we do not know for sure if there is or not, Mars is certainly the most likely planet (other than, obviously Earth) in our Solar System to have liquid water and perhaps even life in some form. This is part of what creates so much intrigue and myth about the planet in our world, as it seems possible that Mars could have had some basic form of life at one time (if not today).
We do know, from some of the many missions that have and are currently exploring Mars, that at one time it is likely that Mars had liquid water on the surface, and there are other observations that suggest that Mars has had geyser-like flows in recent years. Mars has 2 moons, Phobos and Deimos, both of which are small and irregularly shaped. These moons orbit very close to Mars and are thought to be captured asteroids.
Though many of the folklore causes people to think that Mars is much larger than the Earth, Mars has only about half the radius of Earth and 1/10 the mass. However, its surface area is only a little less than the area of dry land on Earth. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war in mythology. It’s easy to see why Mars is one of the most fascinating and most studies things in all of the universe.