Mars – The 4th Planet of Solar System
Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere of CO2-95%, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters like Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. Both planets (Mars and Earth) present strong evidence of having undergone climate change in the past. In Mars’ case, this evidence points towards it once having a viable atmosphere and liquid water on its surface. There are various mars missions we have done so far.
Differences between Mars and Earth
For instance, atmospheric pressure on Mars is a tiny fraction of what it is here on Earth – averaging 7.5 millibars on Mars to just over 1000 here on Earth. The average surface temperature is also lower on Mars. It ranks in at a frigid -63 °C compared to Earth’s balmy 14 °C. This difference in surface gravity is due to a number of factors – mass, density, and radius.
Even though Mars has almost the same land surface area as Earth, it has only half the diameter and less density than Earth – possessing roughly 15% of Earth’s volume and 11% of its mass. And while the length of a Martian day is roughly the same as it is here on Earth (24 hours 37 minutes), the length of a Martian year is significantly longer (687 days).
On top that, the gravity on Mars’ surface is much lower than it is here on Earth – 62% lower to be precise. At just 0.376 of the Earth standard (or 0.376 g), a person who weighs 100 kg on Earth would weigh only 38 kg on Mars.
Mars Missions we had done till now
1. The first successful fly-by of Mars Missions was on 14–15 July 1965, by NASA’s Mariner 4.
- Launch Date: November 28, 1964(14:22 UTC)
- Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
- Mars Mission End Date: December 21, 1967
Main Object: July 15, 1965: Mariner 4 makes its closest approach to Mars, simultaneously making history by taking the first photos of another planet from space.
Result: The total data returned by the mission was 5.2 million bits (about 634 KB). All instruments operated successfully with the exception of a part of the ionization chamber, namely the Geiger–Müller tube, which failed in February 1965. In addition, the plasma probe had its performance degraded by a resistor failure on December 8, 1964. But experimenters were able to re-calibrate the instrument and still interpret the data. The images returned showed a Moon-like cratered terrain.
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2. Mariner 9
The second of the mars missions was launched toward Mars on May 30, 1971. It was the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. Of the more than 7,000 images it transmitted, some of the most significant were the first detailed views of the solar system’s largest volcano, a canyon system that dwarfs the Grand Canyon and the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.
It is expected to remain in orbit until approximately 2022. When spacecraft is projected to enter the Martian atmosphere. It either burns up or crashes into the planet’s surface.
After this we have send more than 15 satellite to Mars and to their moon to study in detail. But eventually some of them were a failure.
As on 1 Jan 2019, there are 17 man made object on Mar’s surface. From Mars 2 to Insight Lander 2018.
Approximately 10250 kg Man-made material is on Mars.
The main Lander who were successful on reaching and sending information to earth were:
- Spirit rover – Last contact Mar 22, 2011
- Opportunity rover – Last contact June 10, 2018
- Phoenix Mars Lander – Last contact Nov 2, 2008
- Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity (Still in operation)
- In-Sight lander (Still in Operation, Latest)
1.SPIRIT ROVER- MER-A
Differently known as Mars Exploration Rover – A, a.k.a MER–02. Spirit is one of the two Mars rovers that NASA launched in 2003 July. As part of the agency’s $900 million Mars Exploration Rover (MER-A-B) mission. Spirit arrived at the Red Planet in 04 January 2004, tasked with figuring out if life ever existed on Mars, learning about the Red Planet’s current and past climate, and characterizing Martian geography.
The rover completed its planned 90–sol mission. Aided by cleaning events that resulted in more energy from its solar panels, Spirit went on to function effectively over twenty times longer than NASA planners expected. Spirit also logged 7.73 km (4.8 mi) of driving instead of the planned 600 m (0.4 mi). Allowing more extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features.
Initial scientific results from the first phase of the mission (the 90-sol prime mission) were published in a special issue of the journal Science Magazine. The promised warranty on Spirit was 90 Martian days, or sols, but the rover ended up lasting more than 2,200 sols, or 2,266 Earth days. Soon after its landing, Spirits found extensive evidence of Carbonate and Hematite, minerals that are associated with water environments.
After months of testing and carefully planned maneuvers, NASA ended efforts to free the rover and eventually ended the mission on May 25, 2011.