After Mercury, Venus, and Earth in the solar system, Mars is located at the fourth position away from the sun. As one of the closest planets to Earth, scientists have developed a great interest in this planet. In fact, people find it highly interesting because of its unique composition, structure, and characteristics. This growing interest has led to a number of explorations in an effort to find answers to some really good questions about the place. To know why the color of Mars is red, let’s take a closer look at the physical composition of this beautiful planet.
How Mars Got Its Reddish Appearance
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Why is Mars red? According to scientists and experts, the main reason behind the reddish color of this planet is the rich presence of iron oxide. More popularly known as rust, the abundance of this element on the planet’s surface gives it a bright red-orange color, which can easily be seen even from the Earth. Because of this, people started to call it the red planet. With a magnitude measuring 2.9, this planet is definitely one of the brightest in the solar system behind Venus, the moon, and the sun.
Besides color and appearance, this planet has other interesting characteristics. In terms of size, it is considerably smaller than the Earth. Likewise, it also has a lower density compared to a much smaller planet like Mercury. In addition to iron oxide, other elements are also present on its surface including potassium, chloride, and magnesium. Just like Earth, this planet also has sodium on its surface, which is a vital factor in the growth of living organisms.
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This planet has low atmospheric pressure. Liquid water is impossible to have under this kind of condition. Instead, there is water ice on the surface of this planet. Approximately four billion ago, many experts believe that it lost its magnetosphere. Small traces of oxygen, as well as water, can also be found here. More importantly, its major components are comprised of 3 percent of nitrogen, 95 percent of carbon dioxide, and 1.6 percent argon.
Mars is a planet that is rich in methane within its atmosphere. Researchers and experts believe that the abundance of this element on the planet was caused by several factors such as volcanic activity and the impact of comets. The planet has two separate seasons, one of which is called aphelion while the other one goes by the name perihelion. Its orbital period is quite different at 687 days.
Why Mars is Called the Red Planet?
Mars is fourth in the order of the planets from the sun; it comes after Mercury, Venus, and Earth. For years, scientists and experts have been interested in the physical characteristics, structure and composition of its neighboring planet. They have conducted numerous explorations in the past, but there are still many other important questions at the back of their minds. As part of the solar system, it is quite interesting to find out why Mars is called the red planet.
The Reason Behind the Red Appearance of Mars
Why is Mars called the red planet? Due to its red appearance, many people have referred to Mars as the ‘Red Planet.’ The primary reason behind this is the prevalence of iron oxide, which is commonly referred to as rust. It produces a red-orange appearance right at the planet’s surface. Because of its bright color, it is very much visible from the Earth. Only the sun, moon, and Venus are brighter than this planet, which has a 2.9 magnitude.
In terms of physical characteristics, Mars only measures around half of the Earth’s radius. Its density is lower as well compared to that of the Earth. Even Mercury, which is considerably smaller than the red planet, is denser. Aside from iron oxide, its soil also has other elements and nutrients such as chloride, potassium and magnesium. Furthermore, it also has sodium among other important elements, which are needed by living organisms in order to grow.
Other Important and Interesting Facts about Mars
Because of the low atmospheric pressure on the planet, the possibility of having liquid water on it is not possible. Meanwhile, there is much supply of water ice on its surface. The estimated time when the planet lost its magnetosphere is around four billion years ago. The major components of the atmosphere in Mars include 1.6 percent argon, 3 percent nitrogen and 95 percent carbon dioxide. There are also little traces of water and oxygen on the planet.
Methane is also present in the atmosphere of Mars. Scientists associate the presence of this element to numerous factors including the impact of comets as well as volcanic activity. There is also such a thing as serpentinization in the planet, which is a non-biological process. It involves key elements such as mineral olivine, carbon dioxide and water. The distance between this planet and the sun is estimated to be somewhere around 230 million kilometers. Another interesting thing about this planet is the orbital period, which is set at 687 days. Just like the Earth, Mars also has changing seasons, namely aphelion and perihelion.