Mars

Mars: As one of the 5 visible planets, Mars has been observed for thousands of years. But out of
these 5 planets, Mars is one of the most memorable. Its red glow is unlike any other planet, and when
it’s at its closest, it outshines almost any other object in the sky. Mars is the 4th planet from the Sun,
and greatly varies in distance from the Earth. During opposition, it may be close to 35 million miles
away, while at its farthest is can be up to 250 million miles away.

Mars has seasons just like Earth. But due to its more eccentric orbit, these seasons can create
dramatic change in Mars’ atmosphere. As Mars approaches the Sun, its polar caps begin to
sublimate, making the atmosphere thicker. This in turn makes it more likely for dust storms to occur
than when Mars is farther from the Sun.

Compared to Earth, Mars has an extremely small magnetic field. As a result, any future manned
missions to Mars would have to plan for a large amount of dangerous solar particles making it to the
surface. Mars is also smaller than Earth, however it has roughly the same amount of landmass.
(remember, Earth has oceans!)

Related image
Mars. Image Credit: NASA
Recent missions to Mars have searched for water. Several years ago, it was discovered that water occasionally flows on the surface of Mars. However, this water is not the water we’re familiar with. Instead, it is more of a brine. Then in 2018, evidence for a subsurface lake under an ice cap was discovered. Again, this is thought to be a salty brine. This is important because we know that on Earth, where there’s water there’s ice. But this is also important because future missions could use this water.

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