The Fourth Planet From The Sun
On November 28th, 1964, the first successful fly by was completed by spacecraft “Mariner 4″, which returned to earth with close range images of Mars, forever marking that day each year as “Red Planet Day”.
We’ve come a long way since then and there are currently 5 spacecraft (3 orbiting and 2 exploring the surface) providing us with further information about the conditions and potential life supporting qualities of our solar system’s second smallest planet. (For more information about life on Mars, click HERE.) When I was younger, and first learned about aliens and martians, I assumed they were the same thing. After having asked around (thanks Mom and Dad) I found out that, like Marvin, martians are from Mars. The term “Alien” refers to any creature from outer space. I must admit that I’m glad Marvin the Martian is just a cartoon because he doesn’t seem like the kindly neighbor you’d hope for in your new model home in the Mars Colony of 2023. I’d be okay with E.T. though because he likes Reese’s Pieces.
For anyone out there who thinks life on the Red Planet would be peachy, here’s a few fun facts for you:
1. Mars experiences violent dust storms which continually change its surface. (The dust is made from iron-oxide which gives the planet its reddish hue).
2. Mars has a very thin atmosphere made mostly of carbon dioxide. Even if we bring some good ol’ oxygen with us, we’ll have to trap it inside a greenhouse or carry it around in a handy flask, otherwise it’ll just escape.
3. Mars can’t trap the sun’s heat, so it’s really cold during the mars “winter”, going all the way down to -143 Celsius. The coldest temperature recorded on earth was in Antarctica and was a measly -82.9 Celsius. So make sure you pack the big sweaters from your closet.
4. There are so many volcanoes on Mars that the planet is broken down into volcanic provinces… It is also home to the largest volcano in our solar system, Olympus Mons, which is 3 times higher than Mount Everest on Earth.
5. Mars has two moons, Phobo and Deimos. If you visit Deimos, make sure you wear your heavy shoes because you could launch yourself right into orbit just by running… so long gravity!
6. Mars is named after the Roman God of War… which explains why Marvin the Martian was so cranky.
7. Mars once had rivers and maybe even oceans, but if you’re partial to water, you’d better bring it yourself.
8. One year on Mars is equal to 687 days on Earth, which means that on Mars, you’d be half your age!
9. The atmosphere on Mars doesn’t give very much protection from radiation, so make sure you bring your sunscreen – SPF 300.
10. The Mars atmosphere is too thin to burn up falling meteorites (like Earth does – phew!). May I suggest wearing a hardhat?
When a UFO lands in his driveway, I’m just a grown up kid who has had
Shawn Drable has some serious many life experiences. I like being an
decisions to make. Does he tell his family, adult, but I remember being a kid,
does he tell his friends? And what about a teenager, and a young man like it
the imposing-looking alien who stumbled was yesterday…
out of the downed craft? What indeed… When I could fly…
“I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’d like to see more and more planets fall under the ruthless domination of our solar system.” – Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts