QueSPER Research Projects

Planets in the Solar System

Mars

MarsMars

MARS

Mars Printout

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How far is Mars from the Sun?
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Mars is the fourth closest planet to the Sun.

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It is between Earth and Jupiter.

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Mars has an average distance of 141.6 million miles or 229 million kilometers from the Sun.

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Mars is  1.52 AU* from the Sun.

 

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How big is Mars? 
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Mars is about half the size of the Earth; it is about .53 the size of Earth.

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Mars is the seventh largest planet.  This means that only one planet is smaller, Mercury.

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Mars has a diameter of 4,222 miles (6800 kilometers), about half that of Earth.

 

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Why is this planet named Mars?
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Mars was given its name by the Romans in honor of their god of war, Mars. 

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Mars was a favorite god of the Romans.

bulletLegends say that Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus, twins who were said to have founded Rome.
bulletThe blood-like color of the planet reminded the ancients of their bloody wars.

 

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What does Mars look like?

We might be living on Mars in the far future.

Picture of the surface of Mars Picture of the surface of Mars

       
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Mars is called the Red Planet because it has a red or pink hue when viewed from Earth.  It is this color thanks to the large amounts of dust that cover it. The dust, an iron-rich material that forms as a product of weathering, coats the planet like a mantle of rust. 

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Mars has been known to humans since ancient times. The Egyptians name for Mars is Har Decher  which means, The Red One.

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Mars has two moons named Phobos and Deimos.  The moons are named after the mythical horses that drew the chariot of the Roman war god Mars.

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We are learning more about the surface of the planet all the time.

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We now know that Mars has the largest volcano in the solar system.  It is called Olympus Mons and is three times higher that Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain.

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Mars has a canyon that would stretch from California to New York.

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Mars has evidence of liquid water and huge floods. Liquid water is thought to have disappeared on Mars about 3 billion years ago.

 
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Can we see Mars in the sky at night?
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Yes.  To see if it is visible now, check the Sky Maps.

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On August 27, 2003 Mars was slightly closer to Earth than it had been for 60 million years. 
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Here's Why

 

  *One AU (Astronomical Unit) is the distance from the center of the Earth to the center of the Sun. 
 1 AU = 149,597,870.691 kilometers
Definition: An Astronomical Unit is the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun. It is a derived constant and used to indicate distances within a solar system. The Earth orbits at a distance of 1 AU from the Sun.

Information on this page was taken from the following websites:

bulletThe-Solar-System.Net
bulletIntroduction to Mars

Links to Other Sites

bulletExplore a Planet - Mars
bullet Astronomy for Kids
bulletIs the Red Planet Really Red?

Books and References 

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Wethered, Peggy. Touchdown Mars! : An ABC Adventure. NY: Putnam, c2000.    RL 2.6 Dewey 919.9
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Branley, Franklyn. Mission to Mars. NY: HarperCollins, c2002.  RL 2.7 Dewey 629.4
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Rau, Dana M. Mars. Minneapolis, MN: Compass Point Books, c2002.   RL 3.4 Dewey 523.43 
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Vogt, Gregory. Mars. Brookfield, CN: Millbrook Press, c1994.  RL 5.7 Dewey 523.43
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Shearer, Deborah A. Exploring Mars. Mankato, MN: Bridgestone Books, c2003.   RL 4.8  Dewey 523.43

 

  "The Solar System 12/2006: 8 Planets; The New Cosmic Order." Map Insert. National Geographic Magazine.  Dec., 2006.  

 

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