RED PLANET DAY
Every year on November 28th, Red Planet Day commemorates the launch of Spacecraft Mariner 4. It’s also a day to learn more about Mars, which is referred to as the red planet.
After 3 previous attempts, Spacecraft Mariner 4 became the first successful flyby of Mars. The spacecraft was launched on November 28, 1964, and reached Mars on July 14, 1965. The successful mission produced 22 pictures of the Martian surface. These pictures were the first-ever close-up photos to come from deep space. This mission, along with several others that occurred afterward, has helped us learn much about the red planet.
Here are some more interesting facts about this planet:
- It’s the iron oxide on the planet’s surface that makes it red
- Mars is half the size of Earth but it’s still the fourth largest planet.
- The minimum distance from Earth to Mars is about 33.9 million miles.
- It’s the fourth planet from the sun.
- Deimos and Phobos are the names of the two moons on Mars.
- The temperature range is between -191 to 81 degrees F.
- The atmosphere is thin and is mostly made up of carbon dioxide.
- Mars boasts the highest mountain is our solar system and it’s 3 times the height of Mount Everest.
- One year on Mars is 687 Earth days.
- In 2018, scientists found evidence of a lake under a polar ice cap on Mars.
One more amazing fact is that due to the difference in gravity, a 100-pound man would only weigh 38 pounds on Mars. It’s no wonder so many people want to go to Mars! In fact, NASA wants to send humans to Mars as early as 2030.
HOW TO OBSERVE #RedPlanetDay
Science centers, planetariums, and schools hold various events on this day to help people learn more about Mars. To participate:
- Look for Mars in the night sky by looking low in the western sky just after sunset.
- Read about Mars online and look up videos about the red planet.
- Watch movies that feature Mars, such as The Martian, The Last Days on Mars, Total Recall, and Mission to Mars.
- Build a model of the solar system with your kids.
- Learn more about Spacecraft Mariner 4.
Share this day on social media with #RedPlanetDay.
RED PLANET DAY HISTORY
It’s unknown when Red Planet Day began. It is observed every year on November 28th, to commemorate the launch date of Spacecraft Mariner 4.