Mars: the red planet, the last of the terrestrial planets, and our greatest hope for sustaining life beyond our own planet (so far anyways). Ever since Egyptian astronomers first discovered Mars in the heavens, humanity has been fascinated by the nearby planet. At a time just over 100 years ago, we even believed intelligent life much like our own lived on the planet’s cratered surface. Though we often hear the planet is quite similar to Earth, it’s also radically different. These differences will provide some serious challenges for landing a human mission there and sustaining life, challenges which we’ve brought up among these facts on Mars. Whether you’ve always been fascinating by space and the planets or you’re just looking to learn a bit more about our second closest planet, this list is just what you need to get up to speed. From how the planet got its name to its fearsome dust storms to the question of “Is there really organic life on Mars?”, we’ve dug into the red planet’s history to bring you these 25 Unique Facts About Mars: Earth’s Mysterious Cousin. Speaking of planets, have you checked out our 25 Curious Facts Concerning Pluto: The Demoted Planet? (we know, it’s no longer a planet).
Martian land area
Despite being considerably smaller than Earth – about half of Earth’s diameter and a tenth of its mass – Mars has a land area similar to that on Earth due to our planet’s high amount of water. This would only apply to Mars’ current state since the Martian oceans have dried and frozen up.
Phobos, the larger Martian moon
Phobos, the larger of the two Martian moons, orbits the planet so quickly it would set twice (in the East) and rise once (in the west) every day.
Deimos, the smaller Martian moon
Deimos, the smaller moon, is so small that an astronaut on Mars would see it as a full moon just about as brightly as we see Venus in our night sky. Scientists are unsure whether both these moons are captured asteroids or true moons.
Volume-wise, Mars is much smaller than Earth. Over six whole Mars’ would be able to pack into our Earth.
Lower gravity on Mars means you would be able to hop around much easier than on Earth. Its 62.5% less gravity means 100 pounds on Earth are equivalent to about 38 pounds on Mars.