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All About Astronomy
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Deimos and Phobos
|Missions to Mars||Activities,
"The Red Planet"
A Mollweide projection of Mars made from four pictures taken by Hubble Space Telescope in 1999. A storm is visible in the top left near the pole.
Olympus Mons, the largest volcano on Mars; it is perhaps the largest volcano in the Solar System. It is 17 miles (27 km) tall and over 320 miles (520 km) across. It is thought to be extinct.
There are large stores of frozen carbon dioxide at the north and south poles. During the warm season in each hemisphere, the polar cap partly melts, releasing carbon dioxide. During the cold season in each hemisphere, the polar cap partly freezes, capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The atmospheric pressure varies widely from season to season; the global atmospheric pressure on Mars is 25% different (there is less air, mostly carbon dioxide) during the (northern hemisphere) winter than during the summer. This is mostly due to Mars' highly eccentric orbit; Mars is about 20% closer to the Sun during the winter than during the summer. Because of this, the northern polar cap absorbs more carbon dioxide than the southern polar cap absorbs half a Martian year later.
Occasionally, there are clouds in Mars' atmosphere. Most of these clouds are composed of carbon dioxide ice crystals or, less frequently, of frozen water crystals.
There are a lot of fine dust particles suspended in Mars' atmosphere. These particles (which contain a lot of iron oxide) absorb blue light, so the sky appears to have little blue in it and is pink/yellow to butterscotch in color.
Mars' surface temperature averages -81 °F (-63 °C). The temperature ranges from a high of 68° F(20° C) to a low of -220° F(-140° C). Mars is much colder than the Earth.
Mars has 2 tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos. They were probably asteroids that were pulled into orbit around Mars.
Mariner 4 was the first spacecraft to visit Mars (in 1965). Two Viking spacecraft landed in 1976. Mars Pathfinder landed on Mars on July 4, 1997, broadcasting photos. For more on the Mars missions, click here.
THE FACE ON MARS
This photograph of the Cydonia Mense region of Mars was taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor in 1998. It is a coincidental alignment of rocks and other geologic formations that happens to look like a human face from this angle.
DISCOVERY OF MARS
Mars has been known since ancient times.
MARS' NAME AND SYMBOL
This is the symbol of the planet Mars.
An Early Reader Book
An activity book on Mars to print for early readers. The book contains information, pictures to color, and phrases to copy.
A Printable Book
An activity book on Mars to print for fluent readers. The book contains information, pictures, and questions to answer on each page.
Write Ten Things About Mars
A one-page printable worksheet. Write ten things about Mars (plus one thing you would like to change about it).
Find It!, a quiz on Mars.
Interactive Mars Puzzle
Mars Cloze Activity: A fill-in-the-blanks activity on Mars. Answers
How to write a report on a planet - plus a rubric.
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