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Mars - The Red Planet

Mars - The Red Planet

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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