Planet number four in the solar system is the Planet Mars. Mars is a cold and dusty place with the nickname “The Red Planet” due to the presence of iron oxide in the dust. The Martian territory is similar to the terrain of Earth with valleys and mountains. Mars receives some snowfall and has water in the form of ice. Due to all this, scientists believe that the planet must have been warm and wet once before it became the cold and desert-like planet it is today.
- Orbit: 687 days on Earth
- Diameter: 4,217 miles (6,787 km)
- Day: Slightly more than one Earth day (6,787 km)
The planet Mars is named after the Roman god of war. In actuality, Romans copied from the Greeks who had named it as Ares, due to its colour. Other civilisations that have seen mars have also given it colours based on its colour, namely Her Desher (The Red One) by the Egyptians and The Fire Star by the Chinese.
This planet contains both deepest valley and the highest mountain in the solar system. The Valles Marineris valley system is as deep as 6 miles and has a width of around 2,500 miles, while the Olympus Mons have a height of 17 miles.
The Martian atmosphere is too thin making it impossible for liquid water to exist for any length of time. However, there is a belief that the planet may have supported life previously and scientists continue to search for any signs of life in the past.
Mars has the largest volcanoes and they are shield volcanoes. They were created by the flowing of erupted lava for long distances before it solidified. The planet Mars has other volcanic landforms such as small steep cones and plain’s that are coated in hardened lava. Some minor volcanic eruptions might still occur on the planet even today.
The Planet Mars has numerous valleys, gullies and channels giving rises to the suggestion that liquid water may have existed on the planet sometime in the past. Some of these channels are 60 miles wide and around 1200 miles long. Water may still be found in some underground rocks and cracks.
The Martian landscape also contains numerous craters and theses vary based on how old that particular surface is. The southern hemisphere is extremely old with many craters, while the northern hemisphere is relatively new and has fewer craters. Sometimes lava erupting from volcanic eruptions cover up the old craters and thus, alter the landform.