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In the Fact File section we bring you a new collection of quick facts and trivia each week. (Click on the links below for more facts)


Special 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 37 minutes)

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 years.

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 accepted convention.

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 click here.

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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