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 travels around, or orbits, 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 next Mars rover, Curiosity, should land on the planet on August 6, 2012.
Curiosity’s mission is to determine whether humans could survive on Mars, and to search for signs of previous life. Curiosity has currently completed half of its journey. If you are curious, you can follow Curiosity’s progress here. Explore NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System 3-D interactive. FAR OUT!
Finally, would you like to travel to Mars? If so, be sure to take your heavy coat and maybe even an extra sweater with you because they say it is really cold on Mars! Remember to send a postcard to your friends and family back on Earth if you go, too! What kind of postal service do you think would work best between Mars and Earth? Airmail? Rocketship? Interplanetary Mail? Hmmmm . . . Maybe, Out-of-this-World Express Mail! What do you think?
Heckery Dekkery Dot Travel Game Postcards for Children!
It’s a fun way to learn about way-out places!