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Interesting facts about Mars

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A large satellite
Despite wishful thinking on the parts of many, explorations by numerous orbiting spacecrafts and instrument-packed ground rovers have yielded no sure proof of life on Mars
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The red planet is one of the most researched planets in our galaxy.

Mars is a planet whose ruddy complexion seems compatible with its namesake, Mars the Roman god of war. The Red Planet as it's often called deserves the moniker, for its surface is rich in oxidized iron. This rusty faηade is unique to Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. 


Mars Compared with Earth


Its place in the celestial lineup puts it right next door to planet Earth. Both planets are about the same age, some 4.6-billion years old. But Mars is about one-tenth of the size of Earth. Two puny, irregularly shaped moons, Phobos and Deimos, are thought to be the lumpy remains of larger bodies fragmented in an ancient collision.


Mars has features resembling those on Earth. Mars has mountains taller than Mount Everest, which is Earth's highest mountain. It has deep canyons, gullies, canals and craggy gorges that indicate ancient erosions. There is aged evidence of fierce volcanic activity. And Mars sports lakes of frozen water at its northern and southern poles along with lots of ice trapped beneath its topography. A day on Mars is 24.6 hours long.


The Makeup of Mars


But that's where parallels screech to a halt. The thin atmosphere on Mars would kill a human being. It is more than 90-percent carbon dioxide. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the red planet is hostile to humans in many other ways. Interesting facts about Mars must include this one: vicious cyclones of dust sometimes 200 miles in diameter can rage there unchecked for weeks. The terrain in vast tracts is dry and barren. The planet has been smashed umpteen times by asteroids and meteors from outer space. It's not exactly paradise, if you're a human.


The surface temperature on Mars during its winters nosedives to about 195-degrees below-zero Fahrenheit. On the other hand the peak of summer drives the temp on Mars into the 70s. That's not much help to would-be colonies of human visitors for the average there is about 80 below. Now that's a frigid fact.


The possibility that Mars ever harbored living organisms provides tasty conjecture. Scientists, researchers and amateur stargazers alike intermittently roll around the fantasy that there is or was in the past life on Mars. Space probes have detected substantial deposits of frozen water beneath the surface. Water is required for life. The planet early on was bombarded by vast numbers of asteroids and meteors. Perhaps they carried organisms capable of establishing a footing. Despite wishful thinking on the parts of many, explorations by numerous orbiting spacecrafts and instrument-packed ground rovers have yielded no sure proof.


Life on Mars


The lack of evidence that life might hide on Mars has done little over the years to dissuade those with overactive imaginations. Recurring themes in movies, books and television shows are populated with little green men wearing space helmets. Interesting facts about Mars must touch upon this: An instant science fiction classic was born in 1938 when Orson Welles broadcast over the radio a realistic invasion tale, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. The narration shocked thousands who thought that Earth was indeed under attack by Martians. A sample of tales includes these productions:


• War of the Worlds (radio broadcast 1938)

• Devil Girl from Mars (movie 1955)

• My Favorite Martian (television series 1963-1966)

• Robinson Crusoe on Mars (movie 1964)

• Mars Needs Women (movie 1966)

• My Favorite Martians (cartoon series 1973-1975)

• The Martian Chronicles (television mini-series 1980)

• Mars Attacks (movie 1996)

• Escape from Mars (movie 1999)

• Mission to Mars (movie 2000)

• Ghosts of Mars (movie 2001)

Images of Mars


Thousands of images of Mars have been captured since the launch in 1990 of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), a sky-based observatory nearly 44-feet long by 14 feet in diameter. The HST is named after a renowned American astronomer, Edwin Powell Hubble. He discovered in 1920 that instead of just one galaxy, The Milky Way, there are countless more in the heavens. The telescope does its namesake proud for it has captured some extraordinary photos of Mars.

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