THE PLANET MARS
Named after the Roman god of war. Mars is also called the Red Planet due to its distinctive color. The red surface is caused by red dust that covers almost the entire surface of the planet. At times, planet-wide dust storms envelop the world and redistribute the red dust info giant sand dunes.
Mars is home to dizzyingly tall mountains and deep canyons. Olympus Mons, the highest mountain on Mars, is about two and a half times taller than Mount Everest. The Martian canyons called the Valles Marineris is approximately the length of the entire continental United States and more than three times as deep as the Grand Canyon. Like Venus and Mercury, Mars has impact craters all over the planet, where meteorites have fallen through the thin atmosphere to strike the surface.
Billions of years ago, the surface of Mars and Earth looked very similar. Although the Martian surface no longer holds any liquid water. Mars probably once had lakes and rivers, as well as a thick atmosphere like Earth. Why did Mars become a cold, waterless desert while life flourished on Earth? Knowing more about the history of Mars might also help us understand more about the past and future of Earth.
Author of the graphic: Eleanor Lutz