Top 10 Interesting Things about Mars

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Mars has fascinated humankind from immemorial times with its distinct red color, which conferred it the title of “God of War” in most ancient civilizations. However, the spellbound exerted on us by the Red Planet did not stop with the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In fact, it continues till this day. As the fourth planet from the Sun continues to mesmerize, it practically calls out on us to come and discover its mysterious origins.

With all the hype created around NASA’s latest mission on Mars, more and more people are becoming interested with this planet. While we’re patiently waiting for curiosity to tell us more about the Red Planet, let’s review some of the interesting things that we already know about it.

 

1. Olympus Mons

While Mars is considered a rather small astral body, it is home to the largest volcano in the solar system, the mysterious Olympus Mons. Its gigantic height, estimated at a 3 times larger than Mount Everest, as well as its incredible diameter of 375 miles have determined astronomers to classify Olympus Mons as a shield volcano. As a side note, a shield volcano implies a type of mountain built exclusively out of fluid lava flows, which tend to accumulate into broad sheets and take on the shape of a shield.

 

2. The Martian Clouds

Given the thin atmosphere and the almost inexistence moisture, Mars was considered a cloud-free planet. In spite of the fact that only traces of water vapors can be found in the Martian atmosphere, scientists were amazed to find various cloud formations on the Red Planet. The explanation for this phenomenon comes from the distinct atmospheric pressure and temperature that lead the atmosphere to the point close of saturation and promote the formation of clouds. The latest research indicates that the clouds are mostly made of frozen carbon dioxide and they sometimes become so dense that they dim the sunlight by approximately 40%.

 

3. The red coloration of the planet

The trademark red coloration of Mars is granted by the high concentration of iron oxide in the soil. Essentially, the prominent gas found in the atmosphere is carbon dioxide and hence, allows observers from Earth to see the Martian surface directly. On a side note, the iron oxide has a talcum consistency and covers most of the surface giving the impression that the rocks are literarily rusting.

 

4. The mysterious face

In 1976, Viking 1 sent a very interesting photo on Earth depicting what appeared to be a human face. At that point, many believers in the existence of extraterrestrial life supported the idea that there could be life on Mars or that life existed on the Red Planet at some point in time. However, recent surveys on the structure indicate that “The Face” was nothing more than an illusion. While many accept the official NASA story these days (now that we have even more data to work with), there are still some critics who claim it was a cover up.

 

5. Mars’ seasons are to similar to Earth’s

Astronomical observations revealed that the rotational axis of Mars is tilted with respect to the plane of the planet’s orbit, an element that determines the occurrence of seasons, just like on Earth. A closer examination showed that all four seasons present on our planet can also be found on Mars. However, considering that the duration of the Martian year is double from the one on Earth, it is estimated that each seasonal cycle takes twice as long.

 

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