Space exploration has always been the area of maximum interest by Mankind. People always fascinates about exploring the unknown. Mars our neighboring planet has always interested many scientists to discover and explore the mysteries of this red planet. Humans have sent dozens of spacecraft to study this mysterious planet. Many Space Agencies are aiming for Manned Mission on this planet. The challenges of space travel are uncountable.But the dedication to discover new details of our neighboring planet is enough to keep them motivated. Many missions have succeeded over the years for the red planet. Yet there are some of them which failed. Mars has always surprised scientists after every new discovery. Scientists are still working to solve the mystery of our neighbor. Here are the few interesting facts about the “Red Planet” which makes it the most explored planet in our solar system.
Why the name Mars?
The name Mars has its history of own starting from Greeks to Romans. The shiny blood red color star has always attracted people. In the ancient world, people were attracted to the star and they name it as the home of there Gods. The ancient Greeks named the planet after their God of War, Ares. The original name was given by Romans. They also considered the Blood Red color of the star. Thus they concluded it is the home of their Lord Mars, their God of War. Other ancient culture also followed the same concept of naming the star with the names of their Gods. The ancient Chinese culture named it as “the Fire Star”. The Egyptian priest called the star as “Her Desher” which means “the Red One”. Ancient Hindu Mythology named the star as “Mangal”.
Mars and the Mystery of Water
Scientists have investigated every aspect of our neighboring planet. The main focus of our exploration has always been to discover life outside our planet. Thus scientists always look for the habitable environment on other planets. One of the key factor responsible for life is water. Many Spacecraft have spotted signs of ancient water on the surface of Mars. The channels grooved on the terrains and rocks are only possible because of water. Presently the planet has a thin atmosphere which does not allow water to flow on it. Neither it allows Water to remain on its surface in large quantities. The Curiosity Rover has proved for sure that the planet has ice at its poles. Thus the presence of ice is a strong indication of any sort of life form on the planet.
Mars and Earth have same Landmass!
Mars is a lot smaller than Earth. It has only 15% of Earth’s volume yet its landmass is equal to that of Earth. This is because about two-thirds of Earth’s surface is covered in water. Thus both the planets have approximately the same landmass. The gravity of our neighboring planet is just one-third of the earth because of its small size.
This fewer gravity results in some major changes on the red planet. Less gravity has resulted in the formation of Olympus mons, the tallest mountain in our solar system. Olympus mons is a shield volcano, which means it is in an inactive state for a long period of time. It is 21 km in height and has a diameter of more than 600 km.
There are pieces of Mars on Earth
We have pieces of Mars already on Earth. No, it was not a top-secret NASA mission to bring back some pieces of the red planet. But it happened over years. Our neighboring planet has been hit by large asteroids in its past. These collisions with asteroids resulted in the formation of many space debris. Most of which fall back on the planet but some of them got ejected into space. These pieces then traveled a huge distance in space. After some time some of them crash-landed on earth. Thus Scientist studied these pieces before exploring more about our neighboring planet.
The Sun appears to be half the size on Mars
Due to the large distance of Mars from Earth, the size of the sun appears to be approximately half the size visible on earth. As the distance from the sun increased drastically when compared with Earth this change occurs. This also results in the low average temperature on our neighboring planet. When Mars is closest to the sun, its southern hemisphere has intense summer, while the northern hemisphere has winter. On the other hand, it is completely opposite if our neighboring planet is at its farthest point from the sun. The northern hemisphere at this time witnesses a long summer. Whereas the southern hemisphere has long and harsh winter.
Mars has Two Moons!
The Red Planet has two natural satellites revolving around its axis. They are named Phobos and Demios. Both of these moons are revolving around mars and has their very own axis of rotation. Scientists believe that these two moons are asteroids. They believe that Mars gravity captured these two asteroids in its field and thus it resulted in the formation of these moons. The composition of these two moons is also same as that of asteroids. Thus Scientists believe that their conclusion is spot on. Of these two moons, Demios is expected to remain unaffected by any gravitational force of the host planet. But, Phobos has a shorter life span. Due to the gravitational pull by Mars and tidal force, Phobos will deviate from its axis. This deviation will result in its crash landing on the surface of the red planet. Phobos can also get ripped apart and form a ring-like structure across the planet. Yes, the same way Saturn has its ring. Surely it will be a great astronomical marvel to watch this happening. But, for Phobos to deviate from its Path we have a window of 30 to 50 million years.
Mars has always been Scientists goto planet.
Researchers and scientists love with our neighboring planet, is not unknown to anyone. It has always been a goto planet for space research and exploration. Many missions to the red planet are launched by scientists. These include Orbiters, landers, and rovers. Though it is very difficult to soft-land on a foreign planet it is worthy enough to motivate the scientists to do it. NASA was the first agency to send a mission to our neighboring planet. NASA’s Viking in the year 1976 is the first lander on the planet. Many different space agencies have tried to explore the mysteries of our neighboring planet. The orbiters from the Soviet Union, European Space Agency, and ISRO have mapped the planet so far. India’s famous Mars Orbiter the Mangalyaan shocked the whole world when it successfully entered the Mars orbit. It is extremely difficult to execute such mission and Isro did it in only one chance. The most interesting thing about this Mission was its cost-efficiency. The mission only costs half the budget of the movie ‘Gravity’. Thus our neighboring planet has continued to attract scientists to explore its mysteries.