Fact File About Mars
2041/ The so-called "face"
on Mars is located in the Cydonia Mensae region at roughly
40.9 degrees North latitude and 9.45 degrees West longitude.
2042/ The Egyptians were
the first to notice that the stars seem "fixed"
and that the sun moves relative to the stars. They also noticed
five bight objects in the sky (Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter,
and Saturn) that seemed to move in a similar manner. They
called Mars Har Decher - the Red One.
2043/ Mars is only half
as wide as the Earth and has only about a tenth of its mass.
2044/ The Danish astronomer,
Tycho Brahe (1546 - 1601) made surprisingly accurate calculations
of the position of Mars 200 years before the telescope was
invented! In 1576, Brahe set up an observatory in Hven, an
island near Copenhagen where he studied the stars for 20 years.
Using keen eyesight and large instruments, he calculated the
position of Mars to within four minutes of arc.
2045/ Mars has only two
moons, Phobos and Deimos.
2046/ The atmospheric
composition on Mars is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - 95.32% ; Nitrogen
(N2) - 2.7% - Argon (Ar) - 1.6%; Oxygen (O2) - 0.13%; Carbon
Monoxide (CO) - 0.08%
2047/ Galileo Galilei
(1564 - 1642) observed Mars with a primitive telescope, becoming
the first person to use it for astronomical purposes.
2048/ The Dutch astronomer
Christiaan Huygens (1629 - 1695) drew Mars using an advanced
telescope of his own design. He recorded a large, dark spot
on Mars, probably Syrtis Major. He noticed that the spot returned
to the same position at the same time the next day, and calculated
that Mars has a 24 hour period. (It is actually 24 hours and
2049/ Mars has no plate
tectonics, rather it has a single plate that measures about
125 miles (220 km) thick, twice that of Earth's.
2050/ In 1719 Mars was
closer to Earth than it would be until the year 2003.
2051/ At 5:51 am EST
(GMT -5) on August 27, 2003, Mars will be within 34,646,488
miles of Earth, the closest it's come to our planet in 73,000
2052/ Planetary scientist
and crater expert Dr. Jay Melosh, from the University of Arizona,
has estimated that about half a ton of martian material falls
to Earth each year.
2053/ In 1809, Honore
Flaugergues, a French amateur astronomer, noticed "yellow
clouds" on the surface of Mars, which were later found
to be dust clouds.
2054/ It takes two earth
years for Mars to complete one orbit around the Sun.
2055/ In 1867, Richard
Anthony Proctor published a map of Mars with continents and
oceans. His choice of zero meridian is still the currently
2056/ There is apparently
a Martian Astronaut buried in a Texas Cemetery. Read
all about it here.
2057/ Mars is the fourth
planet from the Sun. To see where the other planets are placed
2058/ In ancient Roman
mythology Mars was portrayed as the God of War. A warrior
in full battle armour, wearing a crested helmet and bearing
a shield. His sacred animals were the wolf and the woodpecker,
and he was accompanied by Fuga and Timor, the personifications
of flight and fear. The month March (Martius) was named after
him (wars were often started or renewed in spring). His Greek
equivalent was the god Ares.
2059/ The Roman God Mars,
unlike his Greek counterpart, Ares, was more widely worshipped
than any of the other Roman gods, probably because his sons
Romulus and Remus were said to have founded Rome; the Romans
called themselves sons of Mars. As the consort of Rhea Sylvia
and father of Romulus and Remus, Mars was considered the father
of the Roman people.
2060/ The average temperature
on Mars is minus 81 degrees F. more
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