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Mars - The Red Planet

Mars - The Red Planet. Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech. Mars the Red Planet. Known to Babylonians 3,600 years ago as “Star that Wandered” The Greeks referred to it as “Ares” the god of War Romans called it Mars. Location. Mars. Image Courtesy of NASA. Basic Facts.

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Mars - The Red Planet

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  1. Mars - The Red Planet Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  2. Mars the Red Planet • Known to Babylonians 3,600 years ago as “Star that Wandered” • The Greeks referred to it as “Ares” the god of War • Romans called it Mars

  3. Location Mars Image Courtesy of NASA

  4. Basic Facts • Distance from Sun ≈1.52 times as far as Earth • Time to Orbit the Sun ~ 26 Earth months • Atmosphere ~ Mostly carbon dioxide • Martian Day ~ 24.7 hours • Temperature on the planet’s surface hardly rises above freezing point

  5. Earth and Mars Comparison

  6. Earth and Mars Comparison Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  7. Mars Surface Features • Surface Color: “Red” • Features • Impact Craters • Largest volcano in the solar system(Olympus Mons) • Largest Canyon in the Solar System(Valles Marineris) • Ancient river channels • Lava Rocks • Dust: Reddish from volcanic rock Valles Marineris Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  8. Mars Atmosphere • Unbreathable • Thin • Dusty, makes the sky pinkish, lots of dust storms • Surface Pressure: 1/150th of Earth’s (only 5.6 millibars) • Composition: 95% CO2, 3% N, 1.5% Ar, 0.1% O2, 0.03% H2O

  9. Moons of Mars • Mars has two tiny moons named “Deimos” (Panic) & “Phobos” (Fear) • The moons are irregular and very small in size • Phobos 27x22x18 km • Deimos 15x12x10 km • The moons are probably asteroids captured by Mars Deimos Phobos Image Courtesy of NASA

  10. Is there Water on Mars? • Water is the key to life as we know it • The north and south poles of Mars are covered with thick ice or frost • Some astronomers about 100 years ago thought there were canals on Mars dug by intelligent civilization • Space probes to date have not found any traces of canals on Mars

  11. Previous Mission to Mars • Viking 1 and 2 in 1976 • First pictures of Martian surface Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  12. Previous Mission to Mars • Pathfinder in 1997 • Roving vehicle – Sojourner to explore Martian surface Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  13. Current Missions • Mars Global Surveyor • Accomplishes all the tasks of its mission • And still going Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  14. Odyssey • Discovered subsurface water ice near poles • Track changes of polar ice, clouds and dust storms • Generated maps of radiation and minerals Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  15. Mars Rovers • Spirit • Landed January 3, 2004 • Opportunity • Landed January 24, 2004 Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  16. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter • Launch date 2005 • SHARAD • Shallow Radar Instrument • Penetrate ground and search for water at depths greater than 3 feet. • CRISM • Spectrometer • Find recent traces of water Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  17. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter • Launch date 2005 • CTX • Contex Camera • Wide area views • HiRISE • High Resolution Camera • In depth study of areas where water once flowed Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  18. Future Mission Phoenix - 2008 Mars Science Laboratory - 2009 K9 Rover Image Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech

  19. Mars Websites • http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/classroom • http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov • http://marsed.asu.edu • http://msip.asu.edu • http://marsbound.asu.edu

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