If you remember, last time we took a look at 10 things you might want to know about our Moon. This time, I thought it would be a great idea to consider 10 facts you might find interesting about somewhere everyone wants to visit lately…Mars.
That’s because of the iron oxide prevalent over the surface. Mars is a terrestrial planet, (mostly composed of rock). She is rich in silicate and oxygen based metals, and tholeiitic basalt. But most of the surface is covered in iron oxide dust. That’s rust!
So – you wouldn’t want to take a car there, eh?
However, with a diameter of only 6,792km, (4,222miles) she is the second smallest planet in our Solar System.
Yes, she’s only 53% as big as the Earth with only 40% of our gravity.
(Just imagine how far a quarterback could throw a football)
She may be smaller than Earth, but Mars has two satellites, Phobos and Deimos, which are thought to be captured asteroids. They might be tiny, but their names are grand, meaning panic/fear and terror/dread respectively.
Both moons are tidally locked to their parent planet, so they always show the same face toward Mars.
FACT: Since Phobus orbits Mars faster than the planet itself rotates, tidal forces are slowly but steadily decreasing its orbit. One day, it will break up and crash into the surface. Oooh.
Except for the very lowest elevations, liquid water cannot exist on the surface because of low atmospheric pressure. However, Mars has two polar ice caps which do appear to be made largely of water.
In fact, the southern polar icecap contains so much water, that if we were able to melt it, it would cover the entire planet to a depth of 11meters.
Mars’s polar icecaps endure very long winters, and during that time, find themselves in permanent darkness. Because of this, 25 – 30% of the atmosphere is transformed from gas, into a liquid solid. (Deposition)
When the poles are again exposed to sunlight, the frozen CO2 Sublimes. (That’s where a solid substance transfers into a gas without going through a liquid stage). This action creates enormous winds that exceed 400kph.