With the exciting recent announcement by NASA that they have found evidence of liquid water on Mars, plus the release of Ridley Scott’s The Martian, it seems that there is plenty of buzz and excitement about the Red Planet at the moment. This is fantastic to see, as we here at Goliath find space exploration fascinating, exciting and a little bit scary too. We have found out a tremendous amount about our neighboring planet in recent times, particularly since putting the Curiosity Rover on Mars’ surface in 2012. Here are 10 brilliant facts about Mars.
10. It is Named After the Roman God of War
Due to its red color, Mars has always been associated with blood and war. The Ancient Greeks named the planet after the God of War, Ares, as did the Romans, which is what we know it as now, Mars. Other ancient cultures also named the planet based on its color, with China’s astronomers naming it “the fire star,” and Egyptian priests calling it “Her Desher,” or “the red one.” Mars’ famous red appearance is due to iron oxide (rust) dust which is covering its surface. The rocks and soil covering Mars are mainly built up of iron, but also a small amount of other elements. The dust was created by the rocks and soil becoming eroded by wind (and perhaps spread by water), and the iron within this dust reacted with oxygen to create its iconic coloring. Storms carry the dust into the atmosphere, giving the sky an orange hue.