Mars, the red planet

Mars owes its name to the god of war in Roman mythology (Ares, according to the Greeks), son of the gods Jupiter and Juno (or Zeus and Hera), associated throughout history with the color red like blood, precisely the tonality that predominates on this planet due to the amount of iron oxide on its entire surface.

This is the second smallest planet, behind Mercury, measuring about half that of planet Earth. Phobos and Deimos (discovered in 1877) are the names of the two satellites that orbit around it, which were also baptized with references from mythology. In this case, the inspiration came from Book XV of the Iliad, in which the god Ares invokes his two sons, fear (Phobos) and terror (Deimos).

Mars is also part of the 4 telluric (rocky) planets of the Solar System, made up of Mercury, Venus and Earth. It was precisely the rocky structure, as well as its appearance similar to our planet, one of the reasons why it was thought for years that this planet could harbor life.

Since the mid-nineteenth century, many scientists have speculated on this topic, but there is no evidence or evidence to verify these hypotheses. Even the astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, one of the greatest scholars in the history of ancient astronomy who determined up to eleven thousand measurements of binary stars, came to describe the presence of channels designed to transport water, supposedly useful for some Martian civilization.

Mysteries of Mars
This image, obtained by the camera of the Esa’s Mars Express spacecraft, shows one of the most attractive areas of the red planet, the Nili Fossae region. It is located near the Syrtis Major volcanic area, where methane deposits have been located. This place has great geological interest, as we see in the photo there are large craters, depressions … a whole world to discover.

Strange light on the surface of Mars
In an intriguing capture from NASA’s Curiosity rover, a strange seemingly artificial light is glimpsed emanating from the surface of the planet Mars. What many enthusiasts initially believed was the hint of some kind of alien life appears to be most likely the energy trail of a cosmic ray. Streams of subatomic particles moving at high speed through outer space are absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere and do not interfere with our photographic instruments, but outside of it, they hit the electronic detectors of cameras and telescopes and deposit energy in some pixels. .

The scars of geological history on Mars
In the center of Hebes Chasma we find this plateau surrounded by huge canyons and full of furrows (which suggests that the material that composes it is weak and easily erodible) that show us the geological history of this area of the red planet. Hebes chasma is almost 8,000 meters deep and occupies about 315 kilometers from east to west and about 125 kilometers from north to south in its widest area. This part of Mars is located about 300 kilometers north of Valles Marineris.

Lava flows on Mars
The image shows the lava flows that have left two volcanic eruptions on the plains of Mars. The area of the photograph is the Daedalia Planium region, whose plains have suffered numerous lava flows in which each one covers the previous one. On this occasion the lava had an obstacle in the way, an islet, forcing them to go around it. Thanks to the different layers that overlap eruption after eruption, planetary scientists can reconstruct and study the volcanic activity of the Red Planet.

Flood after impact
This peculiar image taken by the Mars probe of the European Space Agency (ESA) shows a crater 20 kilometers in diameter excavated by an asteroid on the surface of Mars. When a comet or asteroid collides with another body in the Solar System at high speed, the energy released causes the point of impact to heat up dramatically. In the case of this crater, the heat generated by the collision melted the terrain, composed of rock, dust and ice, causing an overflow that flooded its surroundings. Before drying out, the sludge carved out a complex network of channels as it made its way over the surface of the Red Planet.