Mars Facts – The Ultimate Guide to Mars

Mars is the fourth planet from the sun in our solar system and the second-smallest planet behind Mercury, and the last of the terrestrial planets. Often referred to as the “Red Planet” due to its red appearance, Mars, the red planet, is named after a mythological figure Roman god of war; we discover many more Mars Facts within our guide. 

Facts About Mars

  • Planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war
  • Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in our solar system
  • The landmass of Mars is very similar to Earth
  • Pieces of Mars have been found on Planet Earth
  • Mars has the tallest mountain known in our solar system
  • It takes Mars just short of two years to orbit the Sun
  • Except for Earth, Mars is the most hospitable to life
  • Only Earth and Mars have polar ice caps
  • Mars has seasons as we do on Earth, just for twice the length
  • Mars’s orbit is the most eccentric of the eight planets in our solar system
  • There is no magnetic field on mars
  • Mars has two moons Deimos and Phobos

Mars Orbit & Rotation

The orbit and rotation of all our planets have long been a fascination. Mars is no different in fact due to the similarities to that of Earth; it is something that is extensively studied. 

The planet Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, and it orbits at a distance of 1.52 AU once every 687 days. Its average orbit speed is 24.074 km/s, which makes its orbital period shorter than Earth’s (which has an orbital period of 365.256 days).

How Long Does It Take Mars to Orbit the Sun

It takes just short of two Earth years, 23 Earth months, for Mars to orbit around the Sun. 

How Far From the Sun Does Mars Orbit

Mars orbits the sun at an average distance of 141,600,000 miles (228 million kilometers); Mars is 1.5 astronomical units from the sun. 

Does Mars Rotate Clockwise or Counterclockwise?

Mars rotates clockwise like nearly all other planets within our solar system. The only planet in our solar system that rotates counterclockwise is Venus which is called prograde but astronomers. 

What Caused Mars to Seem to Move Backwards?

As Mars is further from the Sun than Earth, it orbits the Sun slower. This means that Earth is on the inside track and can catch Mars up and even overtake it. As our Earth passes Mars, the view changes relative to the distance constellation, and therefore it seems to move backward. 

How Long Is a Year on Mars

Mars orbits the sun slower than earth and orbits farther away from the sun. A complete orbit takes 687 Earth days or one Mars year. 

How Long Is a Day on Mars

Mars has a similar daily cycle as than on Earth. Mars has a sidereal day of 24 hours, 37 minutes, and 22 seconds. With a solar day 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds.

Mars History

Mars is one of the most studied planets in our solar system, but it all had to start somewhere. Below we look at some of the common questions about Mars history, from who named it down to spacecraft missions. 

Since landing on Mars in August 2012, Curiosity has helped us learn a lot more about the planet. Most notably, we now have evidence that Mars used to be covered with water and could conceivably still support microbial life today.

How Old Is Mars

Mars is 4.603 billion years old. However, this is just the best estimate of when our solar system formed all the planets, including Mars, which means the age of all the planets, including Mars.

How Did Mars Get Its Name

Mars, just like most other planets in our solar system, was named by ancient Romans. Mars was named after the god of war because the reddish color was reminiscent of blood. 

Who Discovered Mars

The first person to observe Mars with a telescope was Galileo Galilei in 1960. Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer who pinioned astronomy with many planetary discoveries. 

How Many Spacecrafts Have Visited Mars

There has been a total of 9 spacecraft’s visit to planet Mars. The first country to Mars was the Soviet Union in 1971, with one more mission to Mars in 1973. The US is the only other country to visit Mars, with 7 visits to planet Mars starting in 1976 running through to their last visit in 2021.  

Mars Atmospheric Structure and Dynamics

Mars is one of the most studied planets within our solar system, and it has one of the least hospitable atmospheres in the Solar System. We look at some of the common questions about mar’s atmospheric structure and its dynamic structure. 

How Much Gravity Is on Mars

There is 3.711 m/s² on Mars which is around 38% weaker than Earth’s gravity due to Mars’s smaller mass. 

How Much Water Is on Mars

Mars is has a water mass of approximately 14% water.

What Is the Diameter of Mars

Mars has a diameter of 6,779 km (4,212.3 mi)

What Is Mars Made of

According to NASA, miles surface is approximately 770 to 1,170 miles (1,240 to 1,880 km) thick and is primarily made of silicon, oxygen, iron, and magnesium which is likely to have a consistency of soft rock. 

What Is Mars Atmosphere Made of

Mars’s atmosphere is much thinner than that on Earth. 95% carbon dioxide and much less than 1% oxygen make up the red planet Mars’s atmosphere. 

What Is Mars Temperature

The temperature on Mars is, on average, around minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60 degrees Celsius). During the winter months, the temperature drops on average 195 degrees F (minus 125 degrees C). Summer months can see the temperatures get up to 70 degrees F (20 degrees C), however dropping to minus 100 degrees F (minus 73 C) during the night. 

What Color Is Mars

Mars is commonly known as the Red Planet due to it being dry and dusty. There are various colors on Mars’s surface but predominantly a rusty red that the planet is famously known for. The color comes from iron oxide, just like iron oxidizes presented in the water on Earth. 

Does Mars Have Rings

No, Mars does not have rings; however, it is believed that eventually, rings will form due to Mars having Moons.

Does Mars Have Moons

Yes, Mars has moons.

How Many Moons Does Mars Have

Mars has two moons.

What Are the Names of Mars Moons

Deimos and Phobos

How Big Are Mars Moons

Deimos (12 kilometers in diameter) and Phobos (22 kilometers)

Can We Live on Mars

Due to the radiation, reduced air pressure, and only 0.16% oxygen Mars is not hospitable to humans. For humans to successfully live on Mars, they would need to live inside an artificial habitat with complex life support. 

Comparing Mars and Distances

We often love to compare the planet’s atmospheres and internal structure, but something most fascinating is the planets’ size. Below we look at the size compared to other planets and how far they are from each other.

How Far Is Mars From Earth

The distance from the Earth to Mars changes throughout the year and is different for every planet. Since each of these planets moves independently, there is a constant need to measure their distances at given times. 

The most common way to measure the distance between two objects in space is with light-years (ly). This unit measures how far away an object would be if it were emitting light as we do, one ly being equal to 9.5 trillion kilometers or about 5.9 trillion miles.

How Big Is Mars Compared to Earth

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and has a diameter of 6,792.6 km (4,225 miles). This makes it about half as wide as Earth, which is 12,742 kilometers (7,918 miles) in diameter.

How Long Does It Take to Get to Mars

The distance between Earth and Mars varies, but it’s typically around 140 million km. That means a trip from Earth to Mars can take anywhere from three months to more than a year. 

The speed of spacecraft also varies depending on its method of propulsion. Traditional chemical rockets have the highest speed, which is similar to the top speed of commercial aircraft like Boeing 747s or Airbus A380s today. 

One disadvantage of this type of propulsion is that carrying fuel reduces the payload capacity by half. Travel time for deep-space missions depends not only on how fast you go but also where you start out going from and where you end up going in space.

How Big Is Mars Compared to the Moon

Mars has a radius of 3,389.5 km, just over two times larger than the moon radius, which is 1,737.1 km.

How Far Is Mars From the Sun

Mars, also known as the Red Planet, is 141.6m miles (227.9m kilometers) away from the Sun.