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At the surface we see colors such as brown, gold and tan. This dust gets kicked up into the atmosphere and from a distance makes the planet appear mostly red. Its volcanoes, impact craters, crustal movement, and atmospheric conditions such as dust storms have altered the landscape of Mars over many years, creating some of the solar system's most interesting topographical features. A large canyon system called Valles Marineris is long enough to stretch from California to New York — more than 3, miles 4, kilometers. This Martian canyon is miles kilometers at its widest and 4.
That's about 10 times the size of Earth's Grand Canyon.
A Grand Scale This infographic uses composite orbiter images and an outline of the United States to show the scale of the Valles Marineris. Mars is home to the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons. It's three times taller than Earth's Mt. Everest with a base the size of the state of New Mexico. Mars appears to have had a watery past, with ancient river valley networks, deltas and lakebeds, as well as rocks and minerals on the surface that could only have formed in liquid water. Some features suggest that Mars experienced huge floods about 3.
There is water on Mars today, but the Martian atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to exist for long on the surface. Today, water on Mars is found in the form of water-ice just under the surface in the polar regions as well as in briny salty water, which seasonally flows down some hillsides and crater walls. Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon gases.
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To our eyes, the sky would be hazy and red because of suspended dust instead of the familiar blue tint we see on Earth. Mars' sparse atmosphere doesn't offer much protection from impacts by such objects as meteorites, asteroids and comets.
Mars - the red planet
The temperature on Mars can be as high as 70 degrees Fahrenheit 20 degrees Celsius or as low as about degrees Fahrenheit degrees Celsius. And because the atmosphere is so thin, heat from the Sun easily escapes this planet. If you were to stand on the surface of Mars on the equator at noon, it would feel like spring at your feet 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius and winter at your head 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius.
Occasionally, winds on Mars are strong enough to create dust storms that cover much of the planet. After such storms, it can be months before all of the dust settles. Potential for Life.
Eight Great Books About Mars
Scientists don't expect to find living things currently thriving on Mars. Instead, they're looking for signs of life that existed long ago, when Mars was warmer and covered with water. Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos , that may be captured asteroids. They're potato-shaped because they have too little mass for gravity to make them spherical. Mars' largest moon Phobos as seen by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in The moons get their names from the horses that pulled the chariot of the Greek god of war, Ares.
In ancient Greek, Phobos means "flight," and Deimos means "fear. Phobos, the innermost and larger moon, is heavily cratered, with deep grooves on its surface. It is slowly moving towards Mars and will crash into the planet or break apart in about 50 million years. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun.
Mars is also called the blue planet. Mars was named after the Roman god of war. Mars is bigger than Earth. One day on Mars is almost the same length as a day on Earth. A typical year on Mars lasts for almost two Earth years.
Mars has no ozone layer. The dust storms on Mars can cover the entire planet.
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Top Books on Mars - The Red Planet
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun. It orbits the Sun at an average distance of million km, half as far again as the Earth, so human visitors would find it very cold. Although summers near the equator can be quite warm, the average temperature is 63 degrees Celsius below zero - similar to winters in Antarctica. The nights are also bitterly cold.