Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and orbits the sun at a distance of 141 million miles. Mars is named for the Roman god of war because it appears fiery and red in the night sky. Mars is a relatively small planet, with about half the diameter of Earth and about one-tenth Earth?s mass. The force of gravity on the surface of Mars is about one-third of that on Earth. Mars has twice the diameter and twice the surface gravity of Earth?s moon.
The surface area of Mars is almost exactly the same as the surface area of the dry land on Earth. The time it takes Mars to rotate once on its axis, is about a half an hour longer than an Earth day. Its year is about two Earth years long. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are named after the dogs of the Roman god Mars. These tiny satellites are heavily cratered dark chunks of rock and may be asteroids captured by the gravitational pull of Mars. Phobos orbits Mars once in less than one day, so it appears to rise in the west and set in the east, usually twice
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