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Mars is there, waiting to be reached.

- Buzz Aldrin (NASA Astronaut)

Rahaf & Cindy

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This rocky planets surface has seen volcanoes, meteor impacts, shifting tectonic plates, and huge dust storms. Its seasonal temperature fluctuations are visible in its ever growing and receding polar ice caps.


The Babylonians studied astronomy as early as 400 BC, and developed advanced methods for predicting astronomical events such as eclipses. They made careful observations for their calendars and religious reasons, but never attempted to explain the phenomena they witnessed. The Babylonians called Mars Nergal - the great hero, the king of conflicts.

Name Average Distance from Sun Average Speed in Orbiting Sun Sapphux 142 million miles 14.5 miles per second

Orzicipia 93 million miles 18.5 miles per second

Tilt of Axis Mass Volume Length of Year Length of Day Gravity Temperature Atmosphere # of Moons

4,220 miles
25 degrees 6.42*10^23 kg 1.63*10^20 m^3 687 Earth Days 24 hours 37 minutes .375 that of Earth Average -81 degrees F mostly carbon dioxide some water vapor 2

7,926 miles
23.5 degrees 5.97*10^24 kg 1.09*10^21 m^3 365.25 Days 23 hours 56 minutes 2.66 times that of Mars Average 57 degrees F nitrogen, oxygen, argon, others 1

Earth makes two trips around the sun in about the same amount of time that

Mars takes to make one trip.

Aphelic opposition: Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the sun.

Perihelic opposition: Earth catches up with its neighbor and passes

relatively close to it.

During opposition, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth.

From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west. Then, after staying up in the sky the entire night, Mars sets in the west just as the sun rises in the east. Since Mars and the sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in "opposition.
Mars oppositions happen about every 26 months. Every 15 or 17 years,

opposition occurs within a few weeks of Mars' perihelion.

The 2003 opposition was the closest approach in almost 60,000 years! Our

2003 record will stand until August 28, 2287!

Giant Jupiter especially influences the orbit of Mars. Mars' orbit is more elliptical than Earth's.

To get a spacecraft to Mars, navigators time the launch so the

spacecraft reaches Mars when the red planet is on the opposite side of the sun from Earth. This way, they take advantage of solar gravity, which causes a spacecraft to "fall" toward the sun, traveling in an arc around it. So they send a spacecraft every 26 months.

Earth and Mars, in their eternal march around the Sun, are obscured

from each other by the fiery orb of the Sun itself. All spacecraft have become virtually incommunicado for about two weeks every two years. Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory respond in a variety of ways. It's impossible to predict what information might be lost due to interference from charged particles from the Sun, and that lost information could potentially endanger the spacecraft.
Engineers have become skilled at letting spacecraft be on their own.

About every 26 months, Mars appears to move from west to east from one night to

the next. 2003: Mars Retrograde Animation: Earth has the inside lane and moves faster than Mars -- so much faster, in fact, that it makes two laps around the course in about as much time as it takes Mars to go around once. And the orbits that Earth and Mars follow don't quite lie in the same plane In 2003, the closest approach occurred in August - Earth's summer This year's martian retrograde runs from October 1 to December 9, and forms an open zigzag, it will look to us as Mars is moving up and down. this fall Mars will appear higher in our sky and brighter than two years ago.

So far, the exploration of Mars has occurred in three stages: Flybys Orbiters Landers and Rovers

Pathfinder Viking 1-2

Mariner 3-4


Clara Ma, a 6th-grader from Lenexa, Kansas suggested the name, Curiosity.

In the future, Mars exploration may bring: Airplanes and Balloons Subsurface Explorers Sample Returns

Mars One will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.

Mars moons were named after the twin brothers of fear and

terror in Greek mythology. The solar systems highest peak is nestled in Mars. Mars is also home to the longest and deepest canyon in the entire solar system. It takes approximately 16 months to travel from Earth to Mars and back.