Presentation on theme: "Earth to Mars Facts About the Planet Mars Earth Science."— Presentation transcript:
Earth to Mars Facts About the Planet Mars Earth Science
Mars by the Numbers Average distance from sun: 248 million miles Period of revolution: 1.88 years Length of day: 24 hours and 37 minutes Atmosphere: 95% carbon dioxide; traces of nitrogen and argon Moons: 2 (Phobos and Deimos) Distance from Earth: 142.5 million miles
Fit for life????? Some reasons why Mars is unfit for life (as we know it). 1. Surface temperature can reach 50º F. However, 3 feet above the surface the temperature is below freezing. The thin air cannot retain the heat.
2. There is almost no oxygen in the Martian atmosphere. It is more than 95% carbon dioxide with traces of nitrogen and argon.
3. Mars needs rain. The last time it rained was possibly 3 billion years ago.
4. Mars’ year is almost twice that of Earth. Seasons can be observed. Polar ice caps recede in summer and expand in winter.
5. Gravity on Mars is much less than on Earth. (If you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you only weigh 38 pounds on Mars.)
6. Martian surface features are enormous by Earth standards. Olympus Mons, a gigantic volcano, is the size of Arizona. Valles Marineris, a gargantuan canyon, is more than 2500 miles long and up to 6 miles deep.
7. Mars has weather. Martian weather consists of dust storms. These storms cover the entire planet and last for several weeks. No detail of the planet’s surface is visible.
Three missions will land on Mars in December and January. Two from the U.S. and one from Great Britain. The two from NASA will analyze surface rocks to learn the effects of past water activity. The one from Great Britain will search the atmosphere for chemical indications of past life.
Steve Squyres is the principal scientific investigator and the designer of the Mars Rover Missions. You know, those two little intrepid mechanibots that just keep rolling and rolling over the surface of Mars. They were only expected to last 3 months. More than four years later, Spirit, Opportunity, and Steve Squyres are still exploring the planet Mars.
Spirit, NASA’s rover, landed on Mars January 3rd, 2004. The 4 foot 11 inch rover was folded into a compact form to fit the lander. The rover’s movements were controlled by mission engineers on Earth just like a remote controlled car.
The rover, Opportunity, landed on January 25, 2004. Its job was to explore the opposite side of the Martian surface. One particular place of interest has suggested that there could have been episodes of falling volcanic ash or the buildup of waterbourne sediments.
The Rovers’ Greatest Hits Since landing on Mars in January 2004, Spirit and Opportunity have:
Discovered layered bedrock, rippled sediment, and minerals that form only in the presence of water. Found traces of ancient seas, hot springs, and volcanic steam vents, which may have once been capable of supporting life.
Confirmed long-debated theories that Mars used to be warmer and more Earth-like than it is today. Provided crucial engineering and scientific data for future missions to Mars – including, someday, visits by human explorers.