Image Courtesy of NASA’s HubbleSite © 2007 NASA
Mars, nicknamed the Red Planet, is the fourth planet in our solar system. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. It has a thin atmosphere and has ancient impact craters similar to the moon, and Volcanoes, Valleys, and ice caps similar to earth. It is also the home of the tallest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons, and the largest canyon, Valles Marineris. A single day on Mars lasts 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35.244 seconds, only slightly longer than a single day on Earth.
Until the first NASA flyby made by Mariner 4 in 1965, scientists speculated that there may be water and possibly even life on Mars. At this time, there is no evidence of any life on mars, but it is the most likely planet in the system to possibly hold life.
There are currently four Satellites orbiting Mars: Mars Global Surveyor (possibly lost), Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. There are also Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) that have been operating on mars for the past three years, well beyond the expected 90 day mission that was expected.
Mars has two Moons as well, Phobos and Deimos. It is suspected that they are actually captured asteroids that flew close to Mars to be affected by it’s gravity but not close enough to get pulled into the atmosphere.