In modern times, there is a lot of speculation about Mars being our stepping stone towards the rest of the universe. However, it should be noted that the Red Planet has been a subject of fascination for a long, long time, not least because its proximity has made it that much more noticeable to people on Earth.
Here are 10 cool facts about Mars:
It Has Weather
It is interesting to note that Mars has weather patterns. For the most part, this means wind. However, Mars can see other examples of weather as well, with examples ranging from fog to dust storms. The weather patterns are the reason that some parts of Mars have experienced erosion.
Has Been Named For More Than One War God
Mars is named for Mars, the Roman god of war as well as a number of other serious matters. However, the Romans weren’t the first to name the planet for a war god. After all, they were influenced by the Greeks, who in turn, were influenced by the Babylonians, who had named the planet for Nergal, a god of war, plagues, and general destruction.
Second Tallest Mountain in the Solar System
As far as we know, Mars is home to the second tallest mountain in the solar system, which would be Olympus Mons. For a long time, we believed it to be the tallest until we found Rheasilvia on the asteroid Vesta. Curiously, the Rheasilvia is named for one of Mars’s lovers, who gave birth to Romulus and Remus, one of whom was said to have founded Rome.
Largest Canyon in the Solar System
For what it’s worth, Mars still claims the largest canyon in the solar system for the time being. Said feature is called Valles Marineris, which is comparable to the length from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States.
People Used to Believe that Mars Hosted Intelligent Life
We once believed that Mars was home to intelligent life because of the observations of an Italian astronomer, who thought he saw canals carved into the surface of Mars. Fortunately or unfortunately, those canals turned out to be optical illusions.
People Now Believe that Mars Might Have Been Capable of Supporting Life Once
With that said, there are channels on Mars that seem to have been carved out by running water. As a result, some people believe that Mars might have been capable of supporting life in the past, though that is not the same as saying that it actually supported life in those times.
There Is Water on Mars
Speaking of which, it is worth noting that there is water on Mars. For example, the polar caps contain water in its frozen form. Likewise, there is reason to believe that there might be water beneath the surface of the planet.
Has Two Moons
Currently, Mars has a couple of moons, which are called Phobos and Deimos. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are named for two of the children of Ares, who was Mars’s Greek counterpart. Phobos is a personification of fear, whereas Deimos is a personification of terror. With that said, while the mythological figures were twins, Mars’s moons are very much not the same as one another.
Will Have a Ring in the Future
Phobos is the moon that is closer to Mars. Currently, Phobos is moving closer and closer to Mars because of the planet’s gravitational pull, which is why some people speculate that it will crash into the planet at some point far into the future. However, there is research suggesting that Phobos won’t last that long but will instead be broken up into pieces, thus forming a ring similar to the ones seen surrounding Saturn and the other gas planets.
It Is Red Because of Iron
On a final note, Mars’s red color is one of its most famous features. This color comes from the iron oxide on Mars’s surface, which is a result of the planet’s high iron content. In other words, the Red Planet is red because of rust.