Tag Archives: Mars

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often referred to as the “Red Planet” because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.

Mars/Earth comparison:
Average Distance from Sun: 142 million miles (228.5 million km) / Earth: 93 million miles (150 million km)
Average Speed in Orbiting Sun: 14.5 miles per second (23.34 km per second) / Earth: 18.5 miles per second (29.77 km per second)
Diameter: 4,220 miles (6,791 km) / Earth: 7,926 miles (12,755 km)
Tilt of Axis: 25 degrees / Earth: 23.5 degrees
Length of Year: 687 Earth Days / Earth: 365.25 Days
Length of Day: 24 hours 37 minutes / Earth: 23 hours 56 minutes
Gravity: 0.375 that of Earth
Average Temperature: -81 degrees F (-62.78 degrees C) / Earth: 57 degrees F (13.88 degrees C)
Atmosphere: mostly carbon dioxide, some water vapor / Earth: nitrogen, oxygen, argon, others
Number of Moons: 2 / Earth: 1

The poles of Mars

The planet Mars has two permanent polar ice caps. During a pole’s winter, it lies in continuous darkness, chilling the surface and causing the deposition of 25–30% of the atmosphere into slabs of CO2 ice (dry ice). When the poles are again exposed to sunlight, the frozen CO2 sublimes, creating enormous winds that sweep off the poles as fast as 400 km/h. These seasonal actions transport large amounts of dust and water vapor, giving rise to Earth-like frost and large cirrus clouds. Clouds of water-ice were photographed by the Opportunity rover in 2004.
The caps at both poles consist primarily of water ice. Frozen carbon dioxide accumulates as a comparatively thin layer about one metre thick on the north cap in the northern winter only, while the south cap has a permanent dry ice cover about 8 m thick. Photo: windows2universe.org

Speed of Light – See how torturously slow it is

The speed of light is the Universal speed limit – nothing can travel faster than light. In the vacuum (commonly denoted c), its exact value is 299,792,458 meters per second (around 186,000 miles per second). In other words, if you could travel at the speed of light, you could go around the Earth 7.5 times in one second.

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SpaceX Starhopper, Starship and Super Heavy Booster 3D Models Comparison

Finnish 3D artist Kimi Talvitie has made some really impressive 3D models of SpaceX’s stainless steel Starhopper (the shorter test vehicle of Starship), Starship (previously known as the BFS – Big Fragging Spaceship) and Super Heavy booster (previously known as the BFR – Big Fragging Rocket) and published them on his Twitter account. They are amazing!

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Watch: Yet Another Scale Model of the Solar System

Previously I posted articles titled “If The Moon Were Only 1 Pixel – A Tediously Accurate Map Of The Solar System” and “A Scale Model Of Solar System Drawn In The Desert And The Result Is Stunning”. Since the human brain cannot deal with the really large numbers, these articles provide amazing ways to understand how big actually our Solar System is.

Now, in his YouTube channel, The Science Asylum, physicist Nick Lucid provides yet another scale model of the solar system. A very nice video conceptualizing how mind-bogglingly big our solar system (and space) is.

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InSight Mission Raw Images are available on the web

NASA’s InSight Mars Lander (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport – InSight) was launched on 5 May 2018 at 11:05 UTC aboard an Atlas V-401 rocket. It traveled 483 million kilometers (300 million miles) in almost six months and successfully landed at Elysium Planitia on Mars on 26 November 2018 at 19:52:59 UTC. Shortly after landing, it has sent back the first photo. Now, NASA publishes InSight Mission raw images on its website, you can see them any time you want on the mission’s multimedia webpage.

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Earth, a “Bright Evening Star” as seen from Mars

On January 31, 2014, about 80 minutes after sunset on its 529th Martian day (or sol), NASA’s Curiosity Rover has turned its camera back to home and took this amazing photo of Earth and Moon from a distance of around 99 million miles (160 million kilometers). In the image which has the serial number of PIA17936, Earth can be seen as the brightest point of light in the night sky, a little left of center and our moon is just below Earth.

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5 Surprising Facts about Mars

For eons, skywatchers have been fascinated by the pale red dot that not only unpredictably moves backward in the night sky but also shines a compelling blood-red. Its color, indeed, is one of the first features we notice about Mars. It seizes our attention, and its compelling ambiguity has evoked a deep visceral reaction from the nomad in ancient savannas to modern astronomers. The ancient astronomer may be satisfied to know that, in fact, Mars is literally blood-red: the same chemical reaction that occurs in the iron in Mars’ soil is the same is the same chemical reaction that occurs in the hemoglobin molecule. Mars, is, quite literally, blood red. Even with our cutting-edge technology and science, Mars still bewitches and amazes us as seen with these five surprising facts about Mars.

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How NASA Reinvented The Wheel

On August 6, 2012, at 05:17 UTC, NASA has successfully landed a Mini-Cooper-sized rover, Curiosity, on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars. The 900-kg rover (899 kg, to be exact, which is 1,982 lbs) is equipped with six 50 cm (20 in) diameter wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension. Notes 1 For the first time in the history of the space exploration, the suspension system also served as landing gear for the vehicle, unlike its smaller predecessors.

Curiosity “soft-landed”  (wheels down) on the surface of Mars. But, even it’s called “soft-landing”, the touchdown speed was 0.6739m/s vertical and 0.044m/s horizontal, which could damage the wheels. Plus, while the rover is moving, the wheels should withstand the substantial damage through the rough Martian surface. That’s why the wheels of the Curiosity rover have been one of the biggest technical difficulties encountered on the mission. Notes 2

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