Mars is also known as, ‘Red Planet,’ due to its red colour caused by the present of oxidized iron in the soil there. Mars is the nearest planet to earth. Its temperature is close to ours. And it rotates at every 24.60 hours. It is our immediate neighbour.
It is the fourth planet from the sun, about 228 million km away. To complete one orbit it takes 687 days. The diameter of Mars is exactly 6786 km. There are three volcanoes in Mars namely Olympus Mons: Ascraeus, Arsia Mons and Pavonis Mons. In between, there is Vallis Marineris, a deep valley and a Polar ice-cap.
Of all the volcanic mountains discovered, so far, Mars’s Olympus Mons is the biggest at 26,000 meter high. There were some canals also. It is reckoned that these canals were dug by inhabitants! It gives room to conclude that life exists in Mars. Astronomer Lowell of America spotted it about 130 years ago!
In 1970, Russia’s Mars 3 and 5, and America’s Viking – 1 and 2 were sent to Mars to probe but it was Mars 3 of Russia that landed on Mars on December 2, 1971. But after sending some photos of the Mars, it ceased to function.
But in 1997, America’s Pathfinder landed on Mars and took videos of the surroundings there. Two days later, Pathfinder dispatched a robot on a special vehicle called Sojourner (meaning brief stay) around its surface. There were signs on its rocky surface that there was a devastating flood some millions of years ago! This spacecraft explored there for 12 weeks and had taken over 16,000 photos!
There is a deep valley known as Vallis Marineris. Mars has two small moons by name, Deimosa (15 km across) and Phobos (27 km in diameter). The gravitational pull on these moons is very little. In spite of the many evidences obtained, like the earth, Mars was warm and wet before; it is yet to be decided what made the water there to have gone dry!