What Is the Environment Like on the Martian Surface?
by Amare Smith, age 17
As the years pass and technology continues to improve, the possibility of humans one day living on Mars doesn’t seem that far away.
Mars and Earth have many similarities and differences. Mars is a neighbor to Earth, just 49 million miles away. Like Earth, Mars has seasons, days, and varying temperatures however the lengths and degrees differ. A day on Earth lasts 24 hours but a day on Mars lasts 24 hours and 37 minutes. The temperatures on Mars can vary from 68 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas during the summer to -284 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter, making it much colder than the Earth’s winter weather. If humans were to go to Mars and didn’t have a spacesuit, they would not get enough oxygen and their blood would start boiling rapidly.
When it comes to the atmosphere, Mars’ dry winds can reach speeds of up to 125 miles per hour, causing it to become dusty. In fact, it’s this dust with its high iron content that gives the planet its nickname “The Red Planet”.
Unlike Earth, two moons orbit Mars. Their names are Phobos and Deimos. These two moons are thought to be asteroids that got too close to Mars and were caught in the planet's gravitational pull.
Some scientists believe that there could be water under Mars' surface in the form of ice. This has led many to believe that there was life on Mars at some point. This also shows that the planet is even colder than scientists previously imagined.
Despite the cold and dust, the idea to colonize planet Mars is promising. Mars has plentiful amounts of iron and aluminum. If humans can develop a way to bring those minerals back to Earth, they could be used for construction long into the future. Alternately, it may be possible to live on Mars if we’re able to melt the ice reserves, induce plant life, and create an environment where humans can breathe.
Although Mars has many different characteristics compared to the Earth, it contains some similarities that we didn’t imagine before. Continued research on Mars will fuel for a better understanding of the planet and how its conditions may possibly allow life beyond Earth.
[Sources: Secrets of the Universe; NASA; ]