Wordy | Mars - NASA Solar System Exploration (2023)


Mars is not a place for the faint of heart. It is dry, rocky and very cold. The fourth planet from the Sun, Mars is one of Earth's two closest planetary neighbors (Venus is the other). Mars is one of the easiest planets to spot in the night sky: it looks like a bright red point of light.

Despite being inhospitable to humans, robotic explorers are, like new.mobile resistance- serve as pioneers to eventually bring humans to the surface of the Red Planet.

Go further:Mars exploration and missions >



The ancient Romans named Mars after their god of war because its reddish color resembled blood. Other civilizations also named the planet for this attribute: the Egyptians, for example, called it "Her Desher", which means "the red one". Even today, it is often referred to as the "Red Planet" because the iron minerals in the Martian soil oxidize, making the surface appear red.

potential for life

potential for life

Scientists don't expect to find creatures that currently thrive on Mars. Instead, they are looking for signs of life that existed long ago, when Mars was warmer and covered in water.

size and distance

(Video) Human Exploration of Mars

size and distance

With a radius of 3,390 kilometers, Mars is about half the size of Earth. If Earth were the size of a penny, Mars would be the size of a raspberry.

At an average distance of 142 million miles (228 million kilometers), Mars is 1.5 astronomical units from the sun. An astronomical unit (abbreviated AU) is the distance from the sun to the earth. At that distance, sunlight takes 13 minutes to travel from the Sun to Mars.

orbit and rotation

orbit and rotation

When Mars revolves around the sun, it makes one revolution every 24.6 hours, which is very similar to one day on Earth (23.9 hours). The days on Mars are called brines, short for "sunny day." A year on Mars lasts 669.6 suns, which is 687 Earth days.

The axis of rotation of Mars is tilted 25 degrees with respect to the plane of its orbit around the Sun. This is another similarity to Earth, which has an axial tilt of 23.4 degrees. Just like Earth, Mars has different seasons, but they are longer than the seasons here on Earth because it takes Mars longer to orbit the sun (because it is farther away). And while here on Earth the seasons are evenly distributed throughout the year and last 3 months (or a quarter of a year), the seasons on Mars vary due to the egg-shaped elliptical orbit of Mars around the Sun.

Spring in the northern hemisphere (autumn in the south) is the longest season at 194 sols. Autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in the south) is the shortest at 142 days. Northern winter/southern summer costs 154 soles and northern summer/southern winter costs 178 soles.

A 3D model of Mars, a planet similar to Earth. Credit: NASA Visualization Technology Development and Applications (VTAD)› Download Options


(Video) Exploring the Moon to Mars and Beyond with NASA's Solar System Treks


Mars has two small moons.PhobosmiDeimos, which may be captured asteroids. They are potato shaped because they do not have enough mass for gravity to make them spherical.

Wordy | Mars - NASA Solar System Exploration (1)

The moons are named after the horses that pulled the chariot of the Greek god of war, Ares.

Phobos, the largest and innermost moon, has many deep ridged craters on its surface. It is moving slowly towards Mars and will collide with the planet or break up in about 50 million years.

Deimos is about half the size of Phobos and orbits Mars two and a half times farther. Deimos, oddly shaped, is covered in loose soil that often fills craters on its surface, making it appear smoother than pockmarked Phobos.

go furtherExplore the moons of Mars ›



Mars has no rings. However, if Phobos collides with Mars or dissipates in 50 million years, it could form a dust ring around the red planet.


(Video) Elon Musk Just Revealed NASA's TERRIFYING Discovery On Mars


When the solar system settled into its current form about 4.5 billion years ago, Mars formed when gas and dust were pulled in by gravity to become the fourth planet from the sun. About half the size of Earth, Mars, like other terrestrial planets, has a central core, a rocky mantle, and a solid crust.



Mars has a dense core at its center with a radius of 1,500 to 2,100 kilometers (930 to 1,300 miles). It is made up of iron, nickel and sulfur. The core is surrounded by a rocky mantle between 1,240 and 1,880 kilometers thick and on it a crust of iron, magnesium, aluminum, calcium and potassium. This crust is between 6 and 30 miles (10 to 50 kilometers) deep.

To appear

To appear

The Red Planet actually has many colors. On the surface we see colors like brown, gold and beige. The reason why Mars appears reddish is due to oxidation of iron in rocks, regolith (the Martian soil), and Martian dust. This dust is released into the atmosphere, making the planet appear mostly red from a distance.

Interestingly, while Mars is about half the size of Earth, its surface area is about the size of the terrestrial continent. Its volcanoes, impact craters, crustal movement, and atmospheric conditions such as dust storms have altered the landscape of Mars for many years, creating some of the most interesting topographical features in the solar system.

A large canyon system called Valles Marineris is long enough to stretch from California to New York, more than 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers). This Martian canyon is 320 kilometers wide and 7 kilometers deep. That's about 10 times the size ofgrand canyon of earth.

Wordy | Mars - NASA Solar System Exploration (2)Wordy | Mars - NASA Solar System Exploration (3)

a large scale

This infographic uses composite images from orbiters and a sketch of the United States to show the size of Valles Marineris. Photo credit: NASA/Scott Hulme | ›Full image and title

(Video) What We Know About Life On Mars [4K] | Zenith | Spark

Mars is home to the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons. It is three times the height of Earth's Mount Everest and has a base the size of the state of New Mexico.

Mars appears to have had a watery past, with ancient networks of river valleys, deltas, and lake beds, as well as surface rocks and minerals that could only have formed in liquid water. Some features suggest that Mars experienced a major flood about 3.5 billion years ago.

There is water on Mars today, but the Martian atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to exist on the surface for long. Today, water on Mars occurs in the form of water ice just below the surface in the polar regions, and as brine (salt water) that flows seasonally down some slopes and crater walls.

the atmosphere

the atmosphere

Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon gases. To our eyes, the sky would be hazy and red with dust in the air, instead of the familiar shade of blue we see on Earth. The thin atmosphere of Mars does not offer much protection against impacts from objects such as meteorites, asteroids, and comets.

The temperature on Mars can be as low as 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) or as low as -153 degrees Celsius (-225 degrees Fahrenheit). And because the atmosphere is so thin, heat from the sun easily escapes from this planet. If you were on the Martian surface at the equator at noon, you would feel spring at your feet (75 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 degrees Celsius) and winter at your head (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius).

From time to time, the winds on Mars are strong enough to create dust storms that cover much of the planet. After these storms, it can take months for the dust to settle.


(Video) 58 Years Of Mars Exploration In 14 Minutes


Mars does not have a global magnetic field today, but areas of the Martian crust in the southern hemisphere are highly magnetized, indicating traces of a magnetic field from 4 billion years ago.


What does NASA say about space exploration? ›

Humans are driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further.

What Has NASA discovered so far? ›

In 2020, Gilbert and others announced the discovery of the Earth-size, habitable-zone planet d, which is on a 37-day orbit, along with two other worlds. The innermost planet, TOI 700 b, is about 90% Earth's size and orbits the star every 10 days.

Has NASA gone beyond our solar system? ›

Five robotic spacecraft have sufficient velocity to escape the bounds of our solar system and travel into interstellar space, but only one—NASA's Voyager 1—has crossed that boundary so far.

What is the most explored planet in our solar system? ›

Mars is one of the most explored bodies in our solar system, and it's the only planet where we've sent rovers to roam the alien landscape.

Will humans leave the solar system? ›

"It's very unlikely," Matteo Ceriotti, an aerospace engineer and space systems engineering lecturer at the University of Glasgow in the U.K., told Live Science in an email. However, as Ceriotti explained, "unlikely" does not mean it's "impossible," and suggested a way it could theoretically be done.

Why is space exploration negative? ›

Astronauts receive 10x the amount of radiation exposure as we do on Earth. Such high exposure can damage the immune system, causing astronauts to be susceptible to infection while in space. Long-term exposure can damage cells and DNA, leading to cataracts and cancers.

Is there a planet like Earth found? ›

Scientists at NASA have recently announced that they found a planet that is almost identical (about 95%) to Earth's size and shape and has a rocky surface. Named TOI 700 e, this new planet orbits within its star's habitable zone, which also hints at the presence of water on its surface.

What is the new planet with water? ›

Exoplanet explorers have discovered new planets, Kepler-138c and d, covered with water. According to a new study published on Thursday in Nature Astronomy, two planets 218 light years away from Earth are water worlds.

What is the biggest thing ever discovered in space? ›

The biggest single entity that scientists have identified in the universe is a supercluster of galaxies called the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall. It's so wide that light takes about 10 billion years to move across the entire structure. For perspective, the universe is only 13.8 billion years old.

Has any man made object left the Milky Way? ›

About 41 years after launch, the NASA spacecraft joined its twin in leaving the last edges of the solar system's borders. One year ago, NASA's Voyager 2 probe became just the second human-made object in history to exit the solar system and officially enter interstellar space.

Has Voyager 1 found anything? ›

Voyager 1 is the first human-made object to venture into interstellar space. Voyager 1 discovered a thin ring around Jupiter and two new Jovian moons: Thebe and Metis. At Saturn, Voyager 1 found five new moons and a new ring called the G-ring.

How far will Voyager 1 go? ›

In about 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will drift within 1.6 light-years (9.3 trillion miles) of AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis which is heading toward the constellation Ophiuchus.

Is there a secret planet in our solar system? ›

In the outer Solar System, well beyond the orbit of Neptune and Pluto, a ninth planet may be waiting to be discovered. This 'ghost planet', nicknamed Planet 9 or Planet X, has never been observed directly, but peculiar goings-on in the space beyond Neptune hint tantalisingly at its existence.

Why can't we land on Jupiter? ›

As a gas giant, Jupiter doesn't have a true surface. The planet is mostly swirling gases and liquids. While a spacecraft would have nowhere to land on Jupiter, it wouldn't be able to fly through unscathed either.

What is the least liked planet? ›

The butt (snigger) of countless jokes, Uranus is almost certainly the most unloved planet in our solar system. It always seems to get overlooked when the mission invitations go out. Spacecraft have been sent to Mercury, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. There is even one on its way to .

How long will the human race survive? ›

Humanity has a 95% probability of being extinct in 7,800,000 years, according to J. Richard Gott's formulation of the controversial Doomsday argument, which argues that we have probably already lived through half the duration of human history.

How long will Earth last? ›

Our planet's history will end as it enters the scorching outer layers of its parent star. If you take comfort in the thought that life has another five billion years ahead of it before the Earth ends, don't. Five billion years is how long the planet has left. The biosphere has far less time.

Will we ever make it to another galaxy? ›

The technology required to travel between galaxies is far beyond humanity's present capabilities, and currently only the subject of speculation, hypothesis, and science fiction. However, theoretically speaking, there is nothing to conclusively indicate that intergalactic travel is impossible.

Is space exploration harming Earth? ›

The study also found that rockets deplete the Earth's atmospheric ozone layer, which protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Rockets that burn solid, chlorine-based fuels harm ozone by releasing chlorine, which destroys ozone, directly into the stratosphere.

How many times space exploration failed? ›

During spaceflight. As of March 2021, in-flight accidents have killed 15 astronauts and 4 cosmonauts, in five separate incidents. Three of them had flown above the Kármán line (edge of space), and one was intended to do so. In each case, the entire crew was killed.

What are 5 disadvantages of space exploration? ›

5 Hazards of Human Spaceflight
  • Radiation. The first hazard of a human mission to Mars is also the most difficult to visualize because, well, space radiation is invisible to the human eye. ...
  • Isolation and confinement. ...
  • Distance from Earth. ...
  • Gravity (or lack thereof) ...
  • Hostile/closed environments.
May 8, 2019

What planet is most likely to support life? ›

1. Mars. Mars takes the top spot for several reasons. We know it was once habitable billions of years ago, when it had lakes and rivers of liquid water on its surface.

Is there any planet where humans can live? ›

Among the stunning variety of worlds in our solar system, only Earth is known to host life.

What is the closest possible habitable planet? ›

Proxima Centauri is known to host one planet for sure—the roughly Earth-size Proxima b, which completes one orbit every 11 Earth days. That puts Proxima b in the star's “habitable zone,” the just-right range of orbital distances where liquid water could exist on a world's surface.

Is there a planet made of fire? ›

There are no known lava worlds in the Solar System and the existence of extrasolar lava planets remains unknown. Several known exoplanets are likely lava worlds, given their small enough masses, sizes, and orbits.

Is there a pink planet? ›

Named GJ 504b, the planet is made of pink gas. It's similar to Jupiter, a giant gas planet in our own solar system. But GJ 504b is four times more massive. At 460°F, it's the temperature of a hot oven, and it's the planet's intense heat that causes it to glow.

Did NASA discover an ocean world? ›

Astronomers at the Université de Montréal stumbled upon a water-covered planet, dubbed an ocean world, using NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a study published in The Astronomical Journal said.

What is bigger than universe? ›

No, the universe contains all solar systems, and galaxies. Our Sun is just one star among the hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, and the universe is made up of all the galaxies – billions of them.

What is the deepest thing in space? ›

The HUDF is the deepest image of the universe ever taken and has been used to search for galaxies that existed between 400 and 800 million years after the Big Bang (redshifts between 7 and 12).

How far into space have we gone? ›

The record for the farthest distance that humans have traveled goes to the all-American crew of famous Apollo 13 who were 400,171 kilometers (248,655 miles) away from Earth on April 14, 1970. This record has stood untouched for over 50 years!

What was the first living creature in space? ›

While many flights into space may have accidentally carried bacteria and other forms of life on board, the first living creatures intentionally sent into space were fruit flies. These were transported aboard a V2 rocket on 20 February 1947.

What's the farthest a satellite has gone? ›

At approximately 2:10 p.m. Pacific time on February 17, 1998, Voyager 1, launched more than two decades ago, will cruise beyond the Pioneer 10 spacecraft and become the most distant human-created object in space at 10.4 billion kilometers (6.5 billion miles.)

Can Voyager 1 still be contacted? ›

For the most part, Voyager 1 still appears to be working correctly, gathering and returning science data. It's receiving and executing commands from Earth, although – because of its great distance from us – it takes about two days to send a message and get a response.

Is Voyager 1 shutting down? ›

How long can Voyager 1 and 2 continue to function? Voyager 1 is expected to keep its current suite of science instruments on through 2021.

Has Voyager 1 stopped transmitting? ›

Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, identical in every detail, were launched within 15 days of each other in the summer of 1977. After nearly 45 years in space, they are still functioning, sending data back to Earth every day from beyond the solar system's most distant known planets.

Can Voyager 1 come back? ›

Nope. They have small amounts of hydrazine fuel left and have no possible way to slow down and head back. They are traveling very fast (Voyager 1 is at 38,088 mph or 17.027 km/s relative to the sun) and have very little ability to change speed now.

Can Voyager 1 still take pictures? ›

14, 1990, Voyager 1 powered down its cameras forever. As of early 2020 the spacecraft is still operating, but no longer has the capability to take images.

Does Voyager 1 still have fuel? ›

According to NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Voyager 1 has enough fuel to keep its instruments running until at least 2025. By then, the spacecraft will be approximately 13.8 billion miles (22.1 billion kilometers) away from the sun.

What planet has been removed? ›

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a dwarf planet because it did not meet the three criteria the IAU uses to define a full-sized planet. Essentially Pluto meets all the criteria except one—it “has not cleared its neighboring region of other objects.”

Is Planet 9 a black hole? ›

A group of astronomers, including Avi Loeb at Harvard University, suggested Planet Nine may be a tiny black hole somewhere out in the Oort Cloud. If Planet Nine turns out to be Black Hole Nine instead, it's probably about the size of a grapefruit but about 5 to 10 times the mass of Earth.

Which planet is most mysterious? ›

One of the most exciting debates in astronomy in recent years is related to the existence of a planet that is yet to be confirmed, lurking at the very edge of our own Solar System. Eloise Birchall writes about the great mystery of Planet Nine.

Can you land on Saturn's rings? ›

As a gas giant, Saturn doesn't have a true surface. The planet is mostly swirling gases and liquids deeper down. While a spacecraft would have nowhere to land on Saturn, it wouldn't be able to fly through unscathed either.

Can you walk on Uranus? ›

As an ice giant, Uranus doesn't have a true surface. The planet is mostly swirling fluids. While a spacecraft would have nowhere to land on Uranus, it wouldn't be able to fly through its atmosphere unscathed either. The extreme pressures and temperatures would destroy a metal spacecraft.

Can humans live on Saturn? ›

Without a solid surface, Saturn isn't likely a place we could ever live. But the gas giant does have numerous moons, some of which would make fascinating locations for space colonies, particularly Titan and Enceladus.

Which planet rains diamonds? ›

The diamond rain phenomenon is believed by some scientists to take place on Uranus and Neptune in our solar system. It is thought it exists some 8,000 km below the surface of our ice giant neighbours, created from commonly found mixtures of hydrogen and carbon, squeezed together at incredible pressure.

What is the nicest planet in the world? ›

The planet Saturn: truly massive and stunningly beautiful with its rings. It's also home to amazing moons like Titan. The planet Saturn is probably the best known and most beautiful planet in the Solar System.

What is the only livable planet? ›

Yet Earth remains a standout, and so far, one of a kind. Of the thousands of exoplanets – planets around other stars – confirmed by our increasingly powerful telescopes, and despite extensive probing of the solar system, ours is still the only planet known to host life.

How does NASA benefit from space exploration? ›

NASA's unique mission provides benefits in big and small ways. Dollars spent for space exploration create jobs, jumpstart businesses, and grow the economy. Our innovations improve daily life, advance medical research, support disaster response, and more. We're constantly evolving and finding new ways to add value.

Is exploring space really important against? ›

Without space programs, we wouldn't have GPS, accurate weather prediction, solar cells, or the ultraviolet filters in sunglasses and cameras. There's also medical research happening in space right now that could cure diseases and prolong human lives, and these experiments can't be done on Earth.

What is the latest news in NASA? ›

'Nasa' - 1000 News Result(s)
  • SpaceX Launches Mission to International Space Station With Four Crew Members on Board. ...
  • Watch: SpaceX Dragon Crew Blasts Off For Space Station. ...
  • Pics Shared By NASA's Hubble Show Spectacular Aftermath Of Stars' Death. ...
  • NASA To Name 1st Woman As Agency's Science Chief: Report.

What will space travel look like in 2050? ›

By 2050, multiple pinwheel space stations - or other concepts that use rotating sections to simulate gravity - could exist in Earth orbit. These stations will serve as gateways, allowing for regular trips to the Moon and other locations in deep space.

What are the 4 types of space exploration? ›

First, with telescopes, then with satellites, then space rovers, and ultimately with manned spacecraft.

When did NASA get defunded? ›

NASA's budget peaked during the Apollo program in the 1960s. After the United States won the race to the Moon, space exploration lost political support and NASA's budget was cut significantly.
Where NASA's Budget Is Spent.
StateObligated AmountRank
Arizona$287 million10
9 more rows

How much do astronauts get paid? ›

Astronauts who work for civilian agencies like NASA earn a base salary of $104,898 per year. However, their salaries can increase to $161,141 per year. Furthermore, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that he would be willing to pay his astronauts up to $500,000 for a trip to Mars.

Is space tourism a waste of Earth's resources? ›

There are several ways space tourism can contribute to a depleting ozone layer. CO2 emissions and soot trap heat in the atmosphere and rockets emit up to 10 times more nitrogen oxides than the largest thermal power plant in the UK.

What is disadvantage of space exploration? ›

During a manned space exploration attempt, the natural threats outside our planet's atmosphere might become troublesome in several ways if the launch process does not kill you. While in space, astronauts are always at risk from the sun's radiation, and the absence of gravity might affect their physical state.

Why should we explore space instead of the ocean? ›

First, exploring space would help us to become a multi-planet species, and hopefully, not so dependent on Earth. Also, there are so many mysteries in space to solve, which would better help us to understand everything from our own rights here on earth, all the way to our entire universe.

How many people have NASA lost? ›

During spaceflight. As of March 2021, in-flight accidents have killed 15 astronauts and 4 cosmonauts, in five separate incidents. Three of them had flown above the Kármán line (edge of space), and one was intended to do so.

What is the biggest NASA project right now? ›

NASA Artemis. With Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before. We will collaborate with commercial and international partners and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon.

What is the most recent thing NASA has done? ›

'Nasa Discovery' - 112 News Result(s)
  • Mars' Watery Past: NASA's Curiosity Rover Makes A Stunning New Discovery. ...
  • NASA's Hubble Telescope Discovers Black Hole Twisting A Star Into Donut Shape. ...
  • James Webb Space Telescope Reveals Never Seen Before Images Of Earliest Galaxies.

Will space exist forever? ›

Scientists now consider it unlikely the universe has an end – a region where the galaxies stop or where there would be a barrier of some kind marking the end of space. But nobody knows for sure.

Will space be forever? ›

Space probably does go on forever, but the truth is we don't know. Not yet anyway. That's what makes this a great question, because science is all about finding answers to things we don't know yet. So, what do we know about space?

Are we losing air to space? ›

The answer is yes – Earth's atmosphere does lose some of its atmosphere to space. But our atmosphere won't disappear completely in the near future, because most of it is bound to the Earth by the force of gravity – the same force that keeps us anchored to Earth.


1. Mars 101 | National Geographic
(National Geographic)
2. Opportunity: NASA Rover Completes Mars Mission
(NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
3. Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Animation
(NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
4. Bill Nye on NASA, Space Exploration, and Mars | Big Think
(Big Think)
5. Mars Exploration Zones
(NASA Video)
6. Space Exploration and NASA Colonization Plans, Documentary on Our Future Voyages to the Universe
(TV - Quantum Universe)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dan Stracke

Last Updated: 06/03/2023

Views: 6007

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dan Stracke

Birthday: 1992-08-25

Address: 2253 Brown Springs, East Alla, OH 38634-0309

Phone: +398735162064

Job: Investor Government Associate

Hobby: Shopping, LARPing, Scrapbooking, Surfing, Slacklining, Dance, Glassblowing

Introduction: My name is Dan Stracke, I am a homely, gleaming, glamorous, inquisitive, homely, gorgeous, light person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.