Mars!

It’s the fourth night of Chanukah! What better way to celebrate than with some latkes and eight facts about Mars?

1) Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system, but has almost the same amount of land area as Earth, thanks to all that water.

2) The climate on Mars is much colder than on earth, but near the equator on hot summer days, temperatures can reach up to near 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

3) Mars’s atmosphere is too thin to hang onto liquid water, but there’s water ice its polar ice caps. If that all of that ice were to melt, the water would flood the surface 36 feet deep…. before… you know, not being able to be held onto because the atmosphere is too thin.

4) Mars is, by far, the most explored planet in the solar system other than Earth. More than 50 missions have been tried.

5) At the moment, there are two active rovers on Mars: Curiosity, since 2012; and Opportunity, since 2004. Curiosity’s mission was planned for two years. Opportunity was only supposed to stay active for 90 Mars days (Martian days are called sols), which means it has gone over 11 years longer than planned. The photo below was taken by the Pathfinder rover in 1999.

6) Mars’s inner, and larger, moon, Phobos orbits so closely and quickly that, if you were standing on Mars, you could see it travel across the sky from west to east, and then rise in the west a few hours later.

7) Mars’s outer moon, Diemos, has only two named features: craters named after the writers Swift and Voltaire.

8) Olympus Mons is the highest mountain in the solar system. It’s so high, and the slopes are so gradual, that someone standing on the top wouldn’t be able to see to the edge of the slopes because they would be beyond the horizon.

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