Mars Fact -Top 6 Interesting Facts About Mars

Last updated on September 25th, 2020 at 02:41 am

The mysteries of our heliocentric planetary system will always be a riddle to be solved. Our solar system still has so many deep secrets to be unfolded. In this article, we will try to uncover Top 6 Interesting facts about mars like why Mars is called the red planet to the human’s most ambitious dream of colonizing the red planet within the next half-century.
see also, Full Moon Calendar 2020 | Full Moon Dates 2020 | Full Moon Names 2020
 

1. Why Mars Is Called The Red Planet?


Why-Mars-Is-Called-The-Red-Planet?
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As I hail from India, so I will give the explanation by the Indian perspective on why Mars is called the red planet. According to the Indian sacred scriptures, the word Mars is derived from the Sanskrit word “Mangala”. In the Hindi language, planet Mars is called Mangala Graha (planet). According to Shiv Purana, Lohitang- (son of Lord Shiva and planet earth) is called planet Mars. Some scriptures suggest that Lohitang was born from the blood and sweat of Lord Shiva while Lord Shiva was performing Shiv Tandav.


Lord Shiva blessed him (Lohitang) with a position in our solar system. The word red planet is derived from the Sanskrit word Lohitang i.e Lohit means red and Ang means a body (planet) hence gives the word Red Planet. Lohitang is also known as God Of War.

see also, Interesting Facts About Mercury

Well according to western scriptures, planet mars took its name from the Roman god of war. Or likewise in different cultures, for Chinese astronomers, Mars is known as fire star or according to the Egyptian culture, planet Mars is called “Her Desher” meaning The Red One. This is how was Mars named. Tuesday (Mangalvaar) is also regarded as the day of planet Mars (Mangal Graha).

Apart from myths and mythology, scientifically, the reason for the reddish color of Mars surface is due to the presence for iron oxide  


2. Olympus Mons Of Mars Is The Tallest Mountain In The Solar System

Olympus Mons or Olympus Mountain is the largest as well as the tallest mountain in the observable universe which is located on the planet Mars. Its height is nearly 22 km ( 72,000 ft. above sea level) making it about two and a half times taller than the tallest mountain on Earth i.e Mount Everest (8,848 m i.e 29,029 ft. Above sea level). It is by far the largest mountain discovered in our solar system.

Tallest-planetary-mountain-in-the-Solar-System-olympus-mons-of-mars
Viking 1 orbiter view of Olympus Mons with its summit Caldera, Escarpment, and Aureole
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

It is the largest shield volcano on the red planet located in the Mars western hemisphere. Some scientists suggest that Olympus mons could still be active which formed during the mars Hesperian period.

see also, Top 6 Fun Facts About Space

3. How Many Moons Does Mars Have?

Colour image of Phobos (MRO, 23 March 2008)
Colour image of Phobos (MRO, 23 March 2008)
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Unlike our blue planet, the red planet has two asteroid looking natural satellites (moon) names Phobos and Deimos.  According to Greek mythology, the two moons of Mars are named after the twin sons of the Ares named horror (Phobos) and Terror (Deimos). Both the moons of Mars were discovered by an American astronomer named Asaph Hall in August 1877.

Colour-image-of-Deimos (MRO, 21 February 2009)
Colour image of Deimos (MRO, 21 February 2009)
Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Between both of the natural satellites of Mars, Phobos is larger in size as compared to the Deimos; and lies in the innermost side of the two moons. Scientists believe that in the coming 30 to 50 million years, Phobos is going to crash into the mars surface due to the tidal force of the red planet; but who knows, as all we can do is hypothesize or wait till the time come when Phobos cease to exist and leads to the creation of the rings around the mars (like Saturn’s ring) that could possibly last up to millions of years.

 

4. Is There Water On Mars?

Is there life on Mars? well, In order to search for life on Mars, the very first step that is to be followed will be the search for the presence of water on Mars Surface. For the existence of life, water is necessary because water implies habitability. The curiosity rover–car-sized rover designed and launched by Nasa as apart of NASA’s Mars science laboratory mission is especially searching for the existence of a favorable environmental condition for the microbiological life on the red planet.

An image of Mars' northern polar ice cap
An image of Mars’ northern polar ice cap, exaggerated to make the layers thicker and more noticeable.
Credit: space.com
As per the research and finding by Nasa’s Curiosity rover–planet Mars has a sufficient amount of polar ice (a combination of water and dry ice) present on it’s both polar regions. Due to the mar’s thin atmospheric conditions, water does not remain or even flow on the Martian surface for a longer time period. As the matter of fact, in our solar system, Mars is the only planet after our planet earth that has polar ice caps named Planum Boreum–on the north pole and Planum Australe–on the south pole respectively.
see also,  Interesting Facts About Jupiter

 

According to the Italian space agency, their MARS ADVANCED RADAR FOR SUBSURFACE AND IONOSPHERE SOUNDING INSTRUMENT (MARSIS) had detected a sign of large, stable liquid water (lake) present beneath a mile of ice near the mars south pole or Planum Australe.

 layered mixture of ice and sand 2.5 kilometers beneath the Martian Surface
An image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows light layers of water ice mixed with darker layers of sand, all sprinkled with bright-white frost patches.
Credit: space.com

In fact, the latest data released by the NASA’S  Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which recently completed its 60,000 circles around mars surface says that it has seen a layered mixture of ice and sand 2.5 kilometers beneath the Martian Surface

5. Mars Has The Biggest Dust-Storm In The Solar System

As far as we earthlings are concerned, we have seen or observed so many dust storms on our planet earth. But if we compare the dust storm of the earth with the dust storms that occur on planet Mars, ours (earth) dust storms will be negligible. The dust storms occurring on the Martian surface are so humongous. According to the research going on, one of the reasons for the Martian dust storm is the thin atmospheric condition of the Martian Surface.

biggest-dust-storms-on-mars
Dust-storm on the martian surface
Credit: Cadena Agramonte

The second and main reason is the distance between Mars and the sun. Dust storms on mars gradually occur when the red planet is nearest to the sun i.e at perihelion. When Mars is nearest to the sun i.e at perihelion, the biggest dust storms of the solar system occur and cover almost all of the Martian surface that lasts for months. the average recorded speed of dust storms is around 120 mph up to 125 mph.

 

6. Mars Colonization Project–Human Mission To Mars

With the ever exploding human population and an exponential decline in the natural resources of our planet earth, critical thinkers, and of course scientists have started to explore the possibility for space exploration and colonization of our nearby planets. And for that purpose, mars seems to be the perfect destination for the human colonization project because of the similarity it possesses, like our Blue Planet. Well, there are so many similarities such as a Martian day or Sol is very close in duration to earth day i.e around 24 hours in a day. And, on the other hand, mars also has 4 types of seasons much like our’s Planet Earth because they both have the tilt on their Axis. Mars has an axial tilt of 25.19°, whereas the Earth’s tilt is about 23.44°.

 

These kinds of scientific pieces of evidence have inspired both the government as well as the private sectors to start research and exploration possibility for the long-term mars colonization projects and finally making some efforts toward a possible human mission to Mars. There are several governmental space agencies who are practically engaged in exploring the possibilities of a human mission to Mars; such agencies include– NASA, ROSCOMOS, CHINA NATIONAL SPACE ADMINISTRATION and so many to come in the near future. On the other hand, private sector organizations include– Bas Lansdorp’s Mars One, Lockheed Martin, Ellon Musk’s SpaceX, and William Boeing’s Boeing.

Falcon-9-in-a-hanger-after-flight
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 in a hanger after the flight
Credit: Spacex.com
in fact, from all the private sector enterprises Ellon Musk’s SpaceX is spearheading the Mars colonization project. he is simply selling us dreams of a human mission to Mars. according to the data released by the SpaceX website, they are planning to launch its first cargo mission to Mars in 2022 and later after 2 years i.e in 2024, finally a human mission to Mars

About Atul Sinha

I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my carrier, and therefore I just completed my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as like ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every part of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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