Although Mars is much smaller than Earth, the two planets have a number of similarities. The Martian day is only a little longer than ours and its angle of tilt means that Mars has four seasons, just as we do on Earth. Daytime temperatures at the equator in midsummer can sometimes reach 25°C. Thin clouds of water vapour or early morning surface frosts can also sometimes be seen. Like Earth, Mars has volcanoes, mountains, dried-up river beds, canyons, deserts and polar icecaps.

For these reasons, Mars is thought to be the only other planet where life may once have existed. However, analysis of the Martian soil by space probes Viking 1 and 2, which touched down on the planet in 1976, and Pathfinder in 1997, failed to find any sign of past or present life.

Mars is a barren planet. Its reddish colour comes from iron oxide dust (similar to rust). From time to time, large dark regions appear on the surface. These are areas of bare rock, exposed when storms remove the dusty covering. The Martian landscape features some dramatic landforms. The Solar System’s highest mountains and its deepest canyon, Valles Marineris, are found on Mars.

Mars has quite a low density and a very weak magnetic field. This suggests that it has only a relatively small ball of iron at its core.

 A number of valleys and channels have been carved into the Martian plains. From the evidence of sediments – muds and silts deposited by water – it seems likely that there were once rivers, lakes and even seas on Mars. The only water left on the surface today is frozen in the polar icecaps. The rest may have been lost to space due to Mar’s weak gravity, or hidden from view as a deep-frozen layer beneath the surface.

Picture Credit : Google