From ArticleWorld

Mars is known as "The Red Planet" and is located in our solar system as the fourth planet from the Sun. The characteristic red appearance that is seen when viewed at night from Earth has led to the use of the term red planet. This planet has two moons and can be seen from Earth by the use of the naked eye. Mars is the planet that is thought to have the most potential for possessing water and life. Mars is very similar to Earth in that it is the only other planet to undergo seasons. Mars owes its name to the Roman God of war.

Physical characteristics

Mars owes its red appearance to the presence of iron (III) oxide. It has approximately half the radius of the Earth and is about one-tenth of its mass. The atmosphere on Mars is thin. It is composed of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon and traces of oxygen and water. The detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars has raised questions about its source. Methane is a by-product of volcanic activity, comet impacts, microbial activity or some non-biological process. During the winter the surface is very cold and this results in the condensation of as much as 25% of the atmosphere into dry ice.


There has been much exploration of this planet and to this end dozens of spacecraft have been sent to Mars. These include crafts such as orbiters, landers and rovers. There is interest in Mars from many countries which include the Soviet Union, the United States and many others with space exploration programmes. Many of these missions have not been successful and this has led to the superstitious belief that there is some kind of curse as relates to this planet. One of the first successful missions to Mars was the Mariner 4 launch and the first successful landing was the Soviet probes.