10 interesting facts about planet Mars

Sep 23, 2014, 12:02 IST | A correspondent

As India's maiden Orbiter Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan successfully entered the Martian orbit on 24 September, here is a look at 10 interesting facts about planet Mars

After a nine-month-long journey, India's orbiter launched under the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan, reached Mars orbit on September 24 in its maiden attempt.

India became the first country to enter the Mars orbit on its first mission. It also becomes the first Asian country and ISRO the fourth space agency to send a satellite to the Red Planet. European, US and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but after several attempts.

As India celebrates Mangalyaan success, here is a look at 10 interesting facts about Mars

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest in our solar system.

It is often described as the 'Red Planet' because of its reddish appearance

Planet Mars
Illustration of Mars and its orbiting moons

The planet is named after the Roman god of war Mars

Mars is home to one of the tallest mountains in the solar system. The mountain called Olympus Mons is almost 27 km high, about three times taller than Mt Everest.

Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide

Mars has approximately half the diameter of Earth. It is also less dense than Earth

Evidence suggests that the planet was once significantly more habitable than it is today, but whether living organisms ever existed there remains unknown

The lengths of seasons in Mars are about twice those of Earth's because of the planet's greater distance from the Sun. A year in the 'Red Planet' is about two Earth years long

Mars has two small natural moons, Phobos (about 14 miles in diameter) and Deimos (about 8 miles in diameter), which orbit close to the planet

The Sun appears about half the size on Mars as it does from Earth

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