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No other planet has made human imaginations work harder than Mars.  From ancient Roman times when it was viewed as the God of War because of it's reddish color, to Percival Lowell imagining that he saw canals on Mars, to the first successful Mars flyby pictures where scientists pronounced that it was dry, dusty and lifeless, to the present day - where we have discovered that water once flowed freely across the surface of Mars (and may (?) continue to do so in some places) and the question of life on Mars is wide open! 


Mars from Hubble Space Telescope Surface of Mars from the Pathfinder Mission's rover, Sojourner

Planet Profile

Mass (kg) 6.42 x 10^23
Diameter (km) 6787
Mean density (kg/m^3) 3940
Escape velocity (m/sec) 5000
Average distance from Sun (AU) 1.524
Rotation period (length of day in Earth days) 1.026
Revolution period (length of year in Earth days) 686.98
Obliquity (tilt of axis in degrees) 25
Orbit inclination (degrees) 1.85
Orbit eccentricity (deviation from circular) 0.093
Maximum surface temperature (K) 310
Minimum surface temperature (K) 150
Visual geometric albedo (reflectivity) 0.15
Highest point on surface: Olympus Mons (about 24 km above surrounding lava plains)
Atmospheric components: 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon
Surface materials: Basaltic rock and altered materials


Mars Surface Feature Map

Right click and download this good resolution map of the surface features of Mars.

bulletReally neat site - Mars Atlas Revisited: The MGS MOC Wide Angle Map of Mars (Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera)


bulletTry this out too - The 1994 Mars Atlas and Viking Orbiter Image Finder, clickable and scalable maps.


Mars Links

bulletCurrent Mars Images and Science. MOC Images with Captions -- 1997 through 2003 Including Mars Picture of the Day
bulletMarsNews.com - NewsWire for the New Frontier
bulletMars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera
bulletMars Exploration: Home
bulletAtlas of Mars
bulletChronology of Mars Exploration
bulletMars Meteorites



More information about Mars and its small moons Phobos and Deimos

Check out more about the History of Spaceflight.