Mars is the fourth planet from the sun, and the second smallest planet in the solar system. Like all planets in the solar system, Mars orbits, revolves as it circles, the Sun. It is Earth’s outer neighbor and is visible with the naked eye. Mars is called the Red Planet because it often looks very reddish and bright in the sky. Mars was first mentioned in records of the Babylonians about 3,000 years ago, and Mars was named after their Roman god of war.
It was believed that there could be life on Mars, but the space missions of the 1960’s and 70’s have dispelled that. To date, no man-like forms, no animals or plant life have been found. Moreover, many scientists think that if any life-form exists on Mars today, it could only consist of tiny organisms in protected areas just below the surface. However, due to the presence of water on the planet, scientists believe it is possible that life did exist on Mars at one time, and so the search for evidence of life on Mars continues! In fact, the newest Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on the red planet right on schedule early in the morning of August 6, 2012!
Curiosity’s mission is to determine whether humans could survive on Mars, and to search for signs of previous life. If you are curious, you can follow Curiosity’s progress here. Explore NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System 3-D interactive. FAR OUT!
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