The Planets

Pttm, Going Postal

To give an idea of the size, you can see here is from left to right, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars:

Pttm, Going Postal

Part Four – Mars

In this fourth part of a series of nine articles we look at the planet Mars.  The stuff of science fiction!  Named after the Roman god of war.

Pttm, Going Postal

The Prologue:

Throughout this series, I would like to give a huge H/T to NASA.

I have used other sources as well, such as and EarthSky which is a great site for showing you where to look.

Equatorial Diameter: 6,792 km
Polar Diameter: 6,752 km
Mass: 6.42 x 10^23 kg (10.7% Earth)
Moons: 2 (Phobos & Deimos)
Orbit Distance: 227,943,824 km (1.52 AU), about 142 million miles, compared to Earths 93 million miles.
Orbit Period: 687 days (1.9 years), about 142 million miles from the sun, 50 percent farther than the Earth.
Day: About 24.6 hours. Year: About 687 Earth days.
Surface Temperature: -153 to 20 °C
First Record: 2nd millennium BC
Recorded By: Egyptian astronomers

Mars and Earth have approximately the same landmass. Even though Mars has only 15% of the Earth’s volume and just over 10% of the Earth’s mass, around two thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Martian surface gravity is only 37% of the Earth’s (meaning you could leap nearly three times higher on Mars).

Mars is home to the tallest known mountain in the solar system.  Olympus Mons, a shield volcano, is 21km high and 600km in diameter. Despite having formed over billions of years, evidence from volcanic lava flows is so recent many scientists believe it could still be active.

There have been 40 missions to get to land on Mars, however only 18 missions to Mars have been successful.  Also multiple fly-by missions.

On Mars the Sun appears about half the size as it does on Earth.

You can see many NASA images from the mars rovers here:

The next exciting mission will be NASA Mars 2020. The Mars 2020 rover also will help advance our knowledge of how future human explorers could use natural resources available on the surface of the Red Planet.  An ability to live off the Martian land would transform future exploration of the planet.  Designers of future human expeditions can use this mission to understand the hazards posed by Martian dust and demonstrate technology to process carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to produce oxygen. These experiments will help engineers learn how to use Martian resources to produce oxygen for human respiration and potentially as an oxidizer for rocket fuel.

The first manned Mars Mission, which will include sending astronauts to Mars, orbiting Mars, and a return to Earth, is currently scheduled by NASA for the 2030s. … The European Space Agency has a long-term goal to send humans but has not yet built a manned spacecraft.  We will have to watch this space I’m afraid.  The Donald seems rather keen on it, so that should give us hope it will happen.

Here is our planet Earth and moon, as viewed from the orbit of Mars.  This composite image combines the best Earth image with the best moon image from four sets of images acquired on Nov. 20, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Pttm, Going Postal
around two thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered in water.

Where to find it: Where is Mars tonight

Check the above link regularly to see where planets and stars can currently be seen.

© Phil the test manager 2018