The red planet is most likely Mars. It’s nicknamed the red planet because of its reddish appearance.
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Officially, there are only eight planets in the solar system. However, for a long time there were nine until the scientific community decided to reclassify Pluto as a “dwarf planet.” Of these eight planets, four are terrestrial worlds like Earth with surfaces of rock and metal. The other four are gas giants that have no solid surface at all. One of these is our very own Jupiter, but the other three are much smaller. Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn are often collectively referred to as the “ice giant” planets because they contain large amounts of water and methane ice in their atmospheres.
The History of the Planet
Mars has been a planet of fascination throughout history. It is named after the Roman god of war and is nicknamed the Red Planet because of its reddish appearance. Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and is the second smallest planet in the solar system.
The first recorded observation of Mars was by the Babylonians in about 700 BCE, who named it “Nergal” after their god of war. These early observations were primarily made to establish the planet’s movements for astrological purposes. In 1610, Galileo Galilei observed Mars through a telescope, noting subtle color changes on the surface that appeared to be seasonal. Because of Mars’s relative closeness to Earth at certain times in its orbit, and because it showed more refine detail than other planets through a telescope, Galileo initially thought that Mars might be a terrestrial (Earth-like) planet. Through more detailed observations, however, Galileo was able to distinguish Martian features that convinced him that it was obviously not an Earth-like world.
The first mission to Mars
The first mission to Mars was launched in November of 1971 by the Soviet Union. The spacecraft, named Mars 2, was carrying a lander and an orbiter. The lander’s engines failed and it crashed into the surface of Mars. The orbiter continued to circle the planet and sent back images of the surface.
The next mission, Mars 3, was more successful. The lander reached the surface and transmitted images for about 20 seconds before transmission ceased. The orbiter continued to return data until it ran out of fuel and crashed into Mars in 1972.
In 1976, two American spacecraft, Viking 1 and Viking 2, were launched to study Mars. Each spacecraft consisted of an orbiter and a lander. The orbiters returned images and data about the planet’s atmosphere and surface features. The landers carried out experiments on the Martian soil. Both missions were successful and operated for several years.
The Geography of the Planet
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Roman god of war and is often referred to as the “Red Planet”
The Martian surface
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being only larger than Mercury. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts and polar caps of Earth. The days and seasons are similar to those of Earth, because of its similar tilt. Mars is nicknamed the Red Planet because of its reddish appearance as seen from Earth.
The Martian surface is characterised by Tharsis, a large bulge in the planet’s northern hemisphere that contains several volcanoes, including Olympus Mons, the tallest known mountain in the Solar System, and Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregular in shape.
The average distance from Mars to the Sun is about 228 million km (142 million mi), or 1.52 AU. The solar day (or sol) on Mars is only slightly longer than an Earth day: 24 hours 39 minutes and 35 seconds. However, due to Mars’ elliptical orbit around the Sun, this day varies from one Martian year to another. A Martian year is equal to 1.88 Earth years or 686.98 Earth days—almost twice as long as our year! As on Earth, winter on Mars lasts longer than summer—a Martian winter can last for up to nine months!
The Martian atmosphere
The Martian atmosphere is very thin, about 1% as thick as Earth’s. It is mostly carbon dioxide gas (CO2), with some nitrogen (N2), argon (Ar), water vapor (H2O), and oxygen (O2), in trace amounts. The atmospheric pressure on the Martian surface averages 600 pascals, approximately 0.087 pounds per square inch, 60% of Earth’s mean sea-level pressure of 101.3 kPa. The surface pressure varies seasonally and elevation-dependently: atmospheric pressure can be as high as 1,110 Pa during the perihelion season in the northern hemisphere winter, but only 610 Pa during aphelion in the northern hemisphere summer; and it can vary between 90 Pa on Olympus Mons’s peak and 0.02 Pa in Hellas Planitia’s depths—less than one millionth of Earth’s atmospheric pressure at sea level.
The Climate of the Planet
This planet is so named because of the reddish tinge that is imparted to its soil and atmosphere by the presence of large amounts of iron oxide. The air of the planet is very thin, and it does not have much of an atmosphere to protect it from the harshness of the Sun’s rays. The surface of the planet is very dry and dusty.
The Martian day
Mars is known as the Red Planet because of its reddish appearance. The planet has a thin atmosphere that does not block out all of the sunlight. The sunlight reflecting off of the Martian surface gives it a red hue.
The Martian day, or sol, is 24 hours and 39 minutes long. This is just about the same length as an Earth day. A Martian year, however, is almost twice as long as an Earth year. It takes 687 Earth days, or 669 Martian days, for Mars to go around the sun once.
The Martian year
A Martian year is 687 Earth days long, which is why a day on Mars is called a “sol.” It’s also why a year on Mars is almost twice as long as a year on Earth! There are all sorts of interesting things that happen during a Martian year, like the changing seasons and the planet’s famous “dust storms.”
In conclusion, the planet nicknamed the Red Planet is Mars. This nickname is due to the reddish color of the Martian surface, which is caused by iron oxide.