Universe Guide

What is the atmosphere on Mars like?

Mars has an atmosphere, if it didn't have an atmosphere, you would look up and see the stars. Caltech   As you can see from the picture below taken by N.A.S.A.s' Opportunity module, the sky is an orangy colour, much like that of the ground. The reason for the sky's colour is the iron oxide in the atmosphere. Its the same reason why the Martian surface is red too.

The vast majority of the atmosphere is Carbon Dioxide (95%) with the next gas being Nitrogen at a mere 2.7%. If you were to compare Mars with Earth's atmosphere, Earth has nearly eighty percent of its atmosphere Nitrogen with Oxygen at 20%.

If the planet has Carbon Dioxide then surely we could plant trees and terraform the planet. Won't trees convert the Carbon Dioxide back into Oxygen? Well, its a great idea but one that wouldn't work. The ground in which the plants would grow would need nutrients but they might not be the right nutrients that plants and trees need depending on where they land. N.A.S.A.

The planets temperature is very cold so we'd have to warm the planet up. The planet is on the outer edge of the Golidlocks Zone but no life has yet been discovered. The Goldilocks Zone is the term that scientists give to the area around a star where the temperature is not too hot and not too cold for life to exist. The Earth, Venus and Mars are all within the Sun's Goldilocks zone but only Earth has life.

Venus is a planet of extremely hot temperatures with a toxic atmosphere. Compared to Mars, there's not much in the way of researching Venus. Venus also rotates in the opposite direction as our planet and takes a year to rotate once on its orbit. Venus

Unlike Venus, there is interest in getting to Mars, both politically and technologically. In the future we will have a Martian base, one that will be manned by people from Earth or Martians. When I say Martians I mean people born on Mars. Mars is smaller than the Earth and therefore the gravity is not as strong. The muscles of a person on Mars would be weaker as they wouldn't need to do as much work to lift something as would a person on Earth. In The Space Between Us, the first Martian human born comes to Earth to experience life but as his body is not able to copy with gravity, he is forced to return to Mars.

Mars was once said to have water running all over the surface before the water retreated to the polar caps. Oceans on Mars Where there's water, there could be life. Despite scientists searching, no concrete evidence of life on Mars has been discovered but they have not yet given up.

Mars doesn't have a strong as strong a magnetic field that protects the planet from solar rays as Earth does. The field can't protect the atmosphere from being destroyed by radiation and solar wind. Had Mars been a little larger say as big as the Earth, life could well have existed and still exist today. Life could've existed for billions of years. N.A.S.A.

Martian Atmosphere taken by lunar module Opportunity.

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