Mars Overview Updated February 22, 2021


"The red planet"

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30 'Mars' stories

February 2020 - February 2021

Mars, named after the Roman God of war, is the second-smallest planet in our solar system. Often referred to as “the red planet” due to its red appearance caused by the iron oxide on its surface. Features of the planet include impact craters, valleys, deserts, and large polar ice caps.

The planet has been explored by many unmanned spacecraft, including Mariner 4, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Express, and many more.

Traditional life here has been deemed as likely, even more so under the surface due to underground water.

Important Stats

  • 4th planet from the Sun (142 million miles)
  • 2 moons
  • 4,220 miles in diameter
  • 25 degree axis tilt
  • 687 day long years
  • 30% of Earth’s gravity (3.71 m/s²)
  • Average temperature of -81 degrees F
  • Atmospheric makeup of mostly carbon dioxide with little water vapor


  • Phobos (fear)
  • Deimos (panic)

Surface Photos

Mars Stories February 22

After 3 days of downloading data from the rover via JPL’s Deep Space Network NASA finally shared with us the videos that documented the entry descent and landing process that took place on Mars last Thursday.

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Mars Stories February 21

One of the craziest experiments a part of the Mars 2020 mission, Ingenuity the small helicopter attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover, has messaged home to controllers at JPL. It saying that it and its base station are in good health on Friday. This is the first transmissions teams have gotten of the helicopter since it landed on the surface of Mars the day before, an important step in getting the helicopter ready to fly.

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Mars Stories February 19

NASA shares a sneak peek of upcoming landing footage from Perseverance

With less than a day on its life on Mars Perseverance has already wowed us with its first still image during one of the most difficult and dangerous times of the descent. Like its twin rover Curiosity, cameras captured stop-motion video of the rover being lowered by the Skycrane. Today we get the first glimpse of what it will look like.

Mars Stories February 18

Almost a decade of development and waiting has finally led to the moment the world has been waiting for. NASA’s Mars 2020 mission was launched onto its journey to Mars back in July of 2020 and teams have monitored its safety all the way there. Now the rover and teams of researchers back on earth get to start looking for signs of life on Mars.

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Mars Stories January 12

Today officially marks the 3,000th day since the Mars rover Curiosity first arrived at the Martian planet. While this may be a long time by any measure, it got us wondering, what’s the longest period that any rover has spent on Mars?

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Mars Stories January 7

Back in 2011, a company called Mars One was founded by a small private Dutch organization with a single bold claim — to land the first humans on Mars. Not only would it be landing humans on Mars, but it would have them “live, explore, and create a second home for humanity” there.

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Valles Marineris, also known as Mariner Valley, is a vast, expansive canyon covering a quarter of Mars’ equator. The 2,500-mile-long canyon is so large that it has been deemed the largest canyon in our entire solar system.

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Mars Stories December 22, 2020

A large majority of the terrain on Mars is rather challenging to traverse, especially for our delicate and slow-moving rovers. Because of this fact, NASA/JPL-Caltech has been hard at work creating what may be the future of Mars exploration: an autonomous robot dog.

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The countdown to Mars kicked off earlier this year on July 30 when NASA’s Perseverance rover blasted off on a ULA Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA’s newest Martian rover will arrive in less than two months on February 18 to begin its search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.

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Mars Stories December 17, 2020

Today, NASA has announced that it will be moving into the next phase of its Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. This move would bring the mission into “Phase A,” the phase in which many crucial decisions will be made.

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