Mars The Red Planet Brett craig

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Mars- The Red Planet: 

Mars- The Red Planet


General Information Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and the fourth terrestrial planet. Mars has a density of 3.93 g/cm^3 and a mass of .6424 x 10^24 kg. Mars is 1.5237 A.U. (142 million miles) from the sun. Mars has a rotational period of 24 hours and 40 minutes, almost the same as Earth. Mars Average speed in orbiting the sun is 14.5 miles per second. It takes Mars 687 days to do around the sun about twice as long as it takes for Earth.


Mars is about 53% of Earth’s size. Its gravity is .375 that of Earth Mars is tilted 24* on it’s axis. It is very close to Earth’s tilt which is 23.5*. Mars most likely formed much in the same way as Earth during the condensation of the solar system. Mars has very low pressure which is why liquids boil at very low temperatures. With the low pressure there is no H2O found in a liquid form. Mars’ Diameter is 4,217 miles. Mars’ average albedo is 0.16 Mars’ oblateness is 0.009


Geology Mars has many volcanoes on its surface. Mars’ largest volcano is Olympus Mons. Olympus Mons has a 600km base and is 25 km tall. The volcanoes on Mars are so tall because there is no plate tectonics and vary little weather erosion. Mars has many valleys on its surface. The Largest valley is Valley Marineris. Valley Marineris is 2500 miles long. It is 5 miles deep. Some of the other surface features suggest that Mars once had water.


The only water on Mars makes up the frozen ice caps. There is evidence in some of the rocks that water use to flow on the surface because of the way they are leaning over. The Martian surface is red because the whole surface contains metal and it has rusted. The picture below is the Mariner Valley

Weather and Climate: 

Weather and Climate Mars has an atmosphere that is only 1% as dense as Earths’. Even with such a thin atmosphere, there are still weather patterns and storms on Mars. Mars’ atmosphere is mostly made up of carbon dioxide 95%. Since Mars’ atmosphere is so thin, H20 cannot be found in a liquid form on Mars’ surface. The atmosphere is dense enough however, to have weather patterns, and the Martian wind often picks up dust from the surface in great dust storms. The Escape velocity is 5.0 km/sec.


It is theorized that at one time Mars did have an extensive atmosphere. What Happened to it? Since Mars has a low escape velocity and it does get a decent amount of heat from the sun, only the heaviest elements were able to stay on Mars. There is also some evidence of running water on Mars which would indicate Mars had a much denser atmosphere. Martian air contains only about 1/1,000th  as much water as our air. Yet, even this small amount of water can condense out and form clouds. Local patches of early morning fog can form in valleys. At the Viking Lander 2 site, a thin layer of water frost was seen covering the ground each winter morning.


Scientists believe that in the past a denser Martian atmosphere may have allowed water to flow on the planet. Physical features closely resemble shorelines, riverbeds, and islands. This suggests that great rivers and possibly seas once existed on Mars. While the average temperature on Mars is about -67°F, Martian surface temperatures range widely from as little as -207°F at the winter pole to almost 80°F on the dayside during summer.


This is a picture of the Mars’ surface in the morning near the Viking Lander 2 site. Notice the thin layer of water frost. This picture to the left shows Mars’ thin atmosphere.


This is a storm mostly containing water-ice and water on Mars. This is the eerie face on Mars.

Magnetic field: 

Magnetic field Mars basically does not have a magnetic field. If Mars does have a magnetic field, it is 1/12000 as strong as Earth. On the planets surface however, there are local magnetic fields (not encompassing the whole planet). The crust on Mars has preserved a fossil record of the magnetic field directions that had prevailed at different times in the ancient past. The dynamo affect has ceased and the global magnetic field has vanished. Scientist do believe that there is still


Scientist do believe that there is still some activity on Mars. Scientist think that every ten thousand years magma rises near the surface and melts underground water causing the water to flow along Mars’ surface. There is clear evidence of this recent activity as recent as a couple hundred years ago. Scientist feel this is the prime spot to be looking for life on Mars. Recent signs of water.


Moons Mars has two moons Phobos and Deimos. Astronomers believe that both of these moons are captured astroids. Both moons are tidally locked with the planet. Phobos looks like a “flat loaf of bread.” Phobos is about 20km X 23km X 28km Phobo’s largest crater is Stickney Phobos is also closer to Mars than Deimos and may at one time crash into Mars. Phobos rotates faster than Mars does.


It also has stress fractures on it that maybe remains from crashing into something. Deimos is only 12km in diameter and three times longer than Phobos. Deimos is covered in a thick layer of dust. The density of the moons is about 2 g/cm^3. This is Phobos This is Deimos

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