What do you know about...Mars?

What do you know about...Mars?

Anyone out there?

It's half the size of Earth, red (or reddish anyway) has a dry landscape, and takes twice as long to orbit the sun. Any ideas? Here's some more clues…

It's not been proven yet, but there is some evidence that suggests there was once life on this planet millions of years ago. Don't get too excited though, there won't be a space-video call from E.T coming our way anytime soon.

In 2008 carbonate was discovered in the rocks on this planet. This was cause for a celebration in the scientific community as its presence could mean that life once existed there. This is because carbonate is what the mineral parts of most living organisms turn into after being buried.

Some of the world's leading experts have tested rock from the planet and found out that it has many similar characteristics to a type of rock found in North Western Australia called the Pilbara. The Pilbara rock has helped scientists find many things out about three quarters of the world's history. That's about 3.5 billion years of science and history! So you can imagine the excitement about the discovery of carbonate on this planet. Figured it out yet? It's Mars!

This discussion about life on Mars has been going on for a very long time. Some of the first evidence gathered about the possibility of life existing on the planet was gathered after a fact-finding mission in 1976. Astronauts from Viking 1 and 2 took photographs in magnificent detail of the planet's surface.

What they saw was very exciting. On the planet's southern hemisphere they found what looked like dried up, eroded channels, flood pains and river banks. This suggests that water used to flow there. This means that billions of years ago, Mars could have been a world of rivers and oceans and not the dry, rusty coloured desert it is now.

Did you know?

Mars has it's own Grand Canyon? It's a little bit more spectacular than our one though;

The 'Valles Marineris'

  • It's 4000Km long (longer than the United States!)
  • It's 600Km wide
  • And 10Km deep
  • Making it 50 times longer, 20 times wider and 6 times deeper than our own!