Mars Overview Updated July 30, 2021

Mars

"The red planet"

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49 'Mars' stories

February 2020 - July 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

Moons

  • Phobos (fear)
  • Deimos (panic)

Surface Photos

Mars Stories July 30

The Mars 2020 mission consisted of two main payloads, the Perseverance rover and a technology demonstration helicopter called Ingenuity. Perseverance was the 6th rover ever sent to the Martian surface and was based on the successful design of the 2011 Curiosity rover. On this day, Mars 2020 launched to space.

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Mars Stories July 27

Check out this animation showing NASA Ingenuity’s 9th flight [Video]

At the beginning of this month, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter made a daring flight that would trek over 600 meters, at speeds of up to 5 m/s for just under 3 minutes. A user created an animation of the Ingenuity’s flight so you can see it from any angle.

Mars Stories July 6

Since we last covered Ingenuity, shortly after its sixth flight, it has been hard at work exploring the Martian surface. Ingenuity has certainly proved useful to Martian exploration, making these flights look routine.

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Mars Stories May 27

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity was originally expected to complete its campaign after just five flights. After extraordinary performance on in the initial flights, demonstrating the possibility of powered flight on Mars, NASA JPL decided to extend the campaign to gather more information.

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Mars Stories May 15

Perseverance, Ingenuity, and all the other American bots on Mars now have company. China became the second-ever country to successfully land a rover on the red planet today. Zhurong, named for the god of fire in Chinese folk tales, is roughly the size of NASA’s 2004 Spirit and Opportunity robots.

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Mars Stories May 14

We’ve been deep diving through Perseverance and Ingenuity since before the Mars 2020 mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral last year. Still, seeing NASA’s Mars rover and first-ever helicopter and their first month spent on the red planet still wows us.

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Mars Stories May 8

This week’s Saturday Night Live was hosted by none other than SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. This lead to many references to all of Musk’s companies, one of the highlights of the night though was a skit showing off SpaceX’s future base on Mars.

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Mars Stories April 29

Artist's concept of Ingenuity in flight. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter has wowed us from Earth with its first flights over the Red Planet. After just 3 flights the tech demo has completed all of its test objectives and will now push the envelope for what it can do.

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Mars Stories April 28

Mars Helicopter Ingenuity completed its third flight on Sunday. Images and video have been arriving back on Earth since then, and on Tuesday a notable image arrived.

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Mars Stories April 22

After the success of its first flight at the beginning of this week, Ingenuity took its second flight early this morning. This flight pushed the tech demo to do more challenging tasks as they step through their testing campaign this month.

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