5 things you need to know about on Mars, the red planet

It's humanity's dream to go forth and settle Mars one day. The red planet is full of secrets to uncover one by one. Here are 5 things you ought to know about it.

Mars' nickname is the red planet

OK, but why?

Romans dubbed her Mars in honour of the similarly named God of War. Plus, it also helped that its colour is the red of blood. How fitting for a God of War... Except you'd be hard-pressed to find an iota of blood on Mars.

The fact is, Mars is red because of its surface's chemical composition. It's made of iron oxide: basically rust. That's why it looks red. Well, reddish-orange. Close enough.

Time runs slow on Mars

One day on Mars lasts just a bit longer than on Earth. 24 hours... and 40 minutes or so. But if you really want to feel that difference, look at the difference in years. To go around the Sun once, Earth needs 365 days (leap years notwithstanding). Mars, however, requires a whole 687days. Why? Simply because of how much further from the Sun it is.

Mars can make you lose weight

Hold your horses, Mars won't literally make you burn off your holiday flab. But if you should ever go to Mars (who knows, maybe you know some people), you'll notice the scale will be much kinder to your self-esteem.

Let's have an example: if you take an 80 kg person and then weigh them on Mars.... it'll read 49.6 kg. Why is that? Because Martian gravity is 62% weaker than Earth's.

Another fun side effect of that weaker gravity means that you could jump thrice as high as on Earth. Imagine the kind of team sports you could have up there!

Mars is one hell of a cold place

But like... really cold! On average, the Mars afternoon hovers around -63 °C. For comparison, the average on Earth is 14 °C. So you'd better leave flip-flops and tank tops in the closet. And even you look for temperature spikes on the planet, it doesn't climb very high. The highest recorded temperature on Mars is a measly 30 °C. Meanwhile, the coldest spots drop to a teeth-chattering -140 °C.

On Mars, you can find the highest mountain in the Solar System!

Mars' Mount Olympus reaches up to 21 229 meters! Do you know just how high that is? No less than two and a half times Mount Everest's height! That's higher than the cruising height for jetliner planes.

And for a cool final tidbit... It's actually a sleeping volcano! What a mess it'd make if it woke up.

Bonus

Here's a neat little memory trick to help you remember the planet's proper order:

Mom Visits Every Monday, Just Stays Until Noon

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune... and Pluto. But hey, the debate still rages on about its status.

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