Monday, March 2, 2009

Mars March

Based upon the Greek god Ares, “Mars” was the Roman god of war. This survived into Olde English as Martius, then Middle English Marche. The month of March for many cultures was the original beginning of the calendar year, and the time for resumption of war.

Iron oxidation in the soil makes the Martian surface appear red, and it was associated with war because the planet’s color reminded ancient astronomers of blood. Today Mars is still often nicknamed "the Red Planet."

Mars has two irregular moons, named for the sons of Ares: Phobos is about 17 miles in diameter, and Deimos about 9 miles. In Greek, their names mean "Fear and Dread" (or in some translations, "Fear and Panic").

This fourth planet from the Sun is about half the size of Earth, has white polar ice caps and its atmosphere is made up primarily of carbon dioxide.

Rotation time is nearly the same as Earth, but Mars takes 687 Earth days to complete an orbit around the sun.

An object weighing 100 pounds on Earth would weigh just 38 pounds on Mars.

Arizona’s Grand Canyon would easily fit into a side-crevasse of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system. This "Mariner Valley" is 125 miles wide in various places, up to 5 miles deep, and nearly 2,500 miles long. That’s the about distance from California to New York.

Statistically, UFO sightings are at their greatest number during those times when Mars is closest to Earth.