Is there life Mars the planet?
This is probably the biggest question on most astronomers’ minds, young and old alike. It has been an unending battle between scientists for many years.
Why such a battle? Well, a meteorite called the Nakhla meteorite (called that because it was found in Nakhla, Egypt) fell in 1911 and some believe it holds evidence that Mars once held life.
The Nakhla meteorite is thought to come from Mars the planet because it is made from the same kind of rocks that are on the red planet. But the battle begins because some scientists believe there are tine bacteria fossils in the meteorite. Other scientists are not convinced. They think the “fossils” are just little holes or mineral deposits.
Recently, we’ve sent a couple of rovers to the planet Mars. You may have heard of them, their names are Spirit and Opportunity. This helps a lot and we are learning more and more everyday from the information they are sending to us. Which brings me to our next question.
Is there water on Mars the planet?
This answer we know for sure. YES! Yep, that’s right there is water on Mars. Astronomers have known for sometime that Mars had water frozen in its polar caps. A lot like Earth’s north and south poles.
Even way back in the 19th Century, an astronomer by the name of Giovanni Schiaparelli discovered deep channels in the surface of Mars. This probably means that water once flowed on Mars the planet.
It’s believed that there were once huge oceans on the planet Mars. So where did all that water go? That is something else the rovers are helping us to find out. From the information we have now, it looks like some of it evaporated and the rest seeped deep into the ground.
There may be giant frozen oceans on Mars just underneath it’s surface!
Can we breath on Mars the planet?
No, we can’t. But the plot thickens… Well, actually the atmosphere thickens, or at least was thick at one time. Billions of years ago when Mars first formed it had a pretty thick atmosphere.
So, what happened to the atmosphere on the planet Mars?
Gravity on Mars is less than half that of Earth’s. So, that means if you weigh 100 pounds here on Earth you would only weigh about 40 pounds on Mars. This is why it’s so hard for Mars to keep its atmosphere. The gases on the planet (like oxygen and carbon dioxide) just kind of leaked out into space leaving only a very thin layer of atmosphere.
Why is Mars red?
This one is not so tough. It’s rusty! Yep, the dirt and rocks on Mars the planet are made up of mostly iron oxide – we’ll call it iron for short. You’ve probably noticed how easily this metal likes to rust, so Mars is really one big rusty desert.